Checklists are a wonderful thing. Whether it’s a list of things to pack for a trip, tasks that need to be completed, or places you’d like to visit, there’s just something deeply satisfying about checking stuff off the list and eventually marking the last thing off and knowing you’ve done it.
I wish there was a checklist for getting into heaven. I’m not alone in this desire either. There was a rich young man in the Bible who wanted one as well. He said to Jesus in Matthew 19:
And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16
I like to think he was a good person who genuinely wanted to know what he must do to get to heaven. Jesus responded by listing off many of the 10 Commandments. But this wasn’t good enough for the young man. He goes on:
The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Matthew 19:20
Jesus tells him to sell everything, give it to the poor, then follow Jesus. A profound sacrifice to be sure, but this is exactly what he wanted! This was his ticket to heaven! But it didn’t end well for the young man. We hear in verse 22 that “he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
As it turns out, there is a checklist for getting into heaven, but it only contains one item: Put Jesus first in all things. Believing in Jesus—trusting Him fully—means putting Him first in every area of our life. For this young man, Jesus knew his great possessions were the most important. What is your stash of “great possessions?” Jesus is calling you to give it up and to come, follow Him.