“One came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ ” (Matthew 19:16).

Take It or Leave It was a popular CBS radio quiz show that ran on Sundays at 10:00 PM from 1940 to 1947. Contestants were asked a series of progressively more difficult questions. After answering each question correctly, the player could “take” the cash prize or “leave it” with the opportunity to answer the next question. The first question was worth one dollar. Each successive question doubled that value up to the final question worth $64. During the 1940s “That’s the $64 question” became a catchphrase for difficult problems.

A spin off of Take It or Leave It was a CBS television program called The $64,000 Question, which ran from 1955 to 1958, and was later renamed The $64,000 Challenge. Contestants chose a category and correct answers doubled their earnings from $64 up to $64,000. The show was such a success that the nation’s crime rate dropped while it was being broadcast.

A rich young ruler once asked Jesus the $64,000 question. In reality, his sincere question had infinite value attached to it. He asked Christ, “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Unlike the religious leaders who wanted to start an argument, this young man wanted to do what was right.

When Jesus told him to keep the commandments, he indicated that he had done so from his youth. “What do I still lack?” (Matthew 19:20). Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give
to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (verse 21). The ruler’s response indicates the condition of his heart. “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (verse 22).

The winning answer to the rich man’s question struck deep, for though it appeared he had outwardly kept God’s law, it had no place in his heart. True obedience comes only when we totally renounce self and follow the Master.

“All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.”

For Further Study: Matthew 19:16–22; Mark 10:23–31; Luke 18:24–30

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