The Golden Chance: a Sermon to the Young
Luke 18:18-22
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?…

Many features combine to make this incident one of peculiar interest.

I. THE PRINCIPAL ACTOR IS THE SCENE A YOUNG MAN. Matthew tells us this quite incidentally (Matthew 19:22), but it adds great interest to the occurrence. For our hearts are drawn towards youth. Youth is innocent, ingenuous, frank, trustful, hopeful, loving. There is, moreover, some mystery about it. We know what the old man has been; we know what the man of middle life will be; but of youth we cannot tell; it may accomplish great things; it is covered with the delicate buds, with the beautiful flowers of promise.

II. A YOUNG MAN OF WEALTH AND INFLUENCE. This might not make him more interesting to Christ; but it does to us. The rich young heir may be of no more intrinsic worth than the beggar by the wayside; but because he is the heir of fortune, we care about him, we watch his career; we are specially glad if he takes a wise course, and are specially grieved if he goes astray.


1. We note his reverence. Youth should be reverent. Ignorance and inexperience should pay to knowledge and wisdom the regard which is their due. We like this young man because he saw in that homeless Teacher a wisdom superior to his Own, and came and prostrated himself before him in becoming homage.

2. We note his ardour. He came running (Mark 10:17) to meet and to learn of Christ. Youth should be, as in the person of this inquirer it was - eager, ardent, enthusiastic, sanguine of good things.

3. We note his religiousness. "Heaven lies about us in our infancy," etc. Youth is the time when heavenly visions are most and best seen; when Divine claims, spiritual realities, are strongest and clearest to the soul; then "life eternal" has the deepest meaning. So was it with him. To him life held something larger and better than all his lands and houses; other and higher voices than those of debtors and stewards reached his ear; he had a vision of a holy service in which he might be engaged; of a Divine life he might be living; and running in his eagerness, and kneeling in his reverence, he looked up into the face of Christ and said, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"

IV. A YOUNG MAN IN THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST, exciting his special interest. A young man, with his life before him and a soul not yet stained by the evil which is in the world, standing in the very presence of him who knew what human life might include and what the human soul was worth, who could tell him how to enlarge the one and how to ennoble the other, and who (Mark 10:21) took a tender and loving interest in this earnest spirit, - what could we have more profoundly interesting than this?

V. JESUS CHRIST REVEALING TO HIM THE TRUE STATE OF HIS HEART. Our Lord's treatment of inquirers differed much; it was, no doubt, determined by the state of their heart, as he alone knew it. He replied to this young man as he did, because he wished him to know where he actually stood; he wished to show him that, in order to be prepared to lay hold on eternal life, it was not only necessary to have such sincerity as he had, and such earnestness as he had, but such earnestness as would make him ready to yield everything to the Lord of his life; and that this he had not. So, after leading him up to the point, he said, "Sell all that thou hast," etc. And then the inquirer knew that he lacked one thing - one essential thing; he wanted that thoroughness of purpose toward God which made self-surrender possible to him. It was a glorious, golden chance, then used or then lost when this interview was held. It must have been the crisis of his career, on which everything hung for all the future. Similar in its nature, though not alike in its circumstances, is the opportunity offered to each one of us.

1. All the life of Christian privilege is the golden chance of our existence. "Now is the accepted time," the period when everything is open to us, when a noble and immortal future stretches Out before us and is within our power.

2. Youth is the golden chance of life. It is in the days that are now passing, when the heart is warm, and the mind is open, and the conscience tender, and the life unburdened and unembarrassed, that Christ should be approached and his lasting friendship gained.

3. The day of Divine visitation is the golden chance of youth - that day when the truth and the grace of Jesus Christ are most powerfully felt, and a voice from heaven is heard saying of the path of life, "This is the way: walk ye in it." - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

WEB: A certain ruler asked him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

The Deceitfulness of Riches
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