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Burial of our Sister Rachel Goode – Worcester 19 December 2019

About Rachel Goode (1962 to 2019)

 

Rachel was one of six children (the others being Jenny, Julie, Mark, and twins Carrie and Nick) of Ted and Ursula Standing, a humble but pious and evangelical family from Tunbridge Wells, Kent; South-east of London. Ted was initially a farmer and later a council worker who was taken to be with the Lord when only 54. Ursula was taken in 2005.

Rachel’s character can be deduced from the burial – a happy radiant lover of the Lord Jesus, who was always ready to testify of her faith. Although we were acquainted with her earlier, we came to know her well later. She worked in the office of the local bus company, Maidstone and District.  Her boss, Chris Goode was a sincere believer and organist at St Mark’s Church in Gillingham, Kent (evangelical CofE). Chris was concerned about the unscriptural trends in the church and discussed these with Rachel. Chris began attending meetings in Gillingham in the gathering where my wife and I attended  and we sought to encourage him. In the end he stayed with the church.

Fast forward seven years. Chris had moved to Worcester and had set up a bus touring business. He also came into Christian fellowship in a gathering linked with us in Gillingham and Rachel and Tunbridge Wells. Unsurprisingly they formed a link and were united in marriage in 1991. The household was a bulwark in Worcester, remaining faithful, carrying things despite a lot of local difficulties. They had two children, Charles and Bronwyn (Bronnie), now in their 20’s, both as committed to the Lord and devoted to His service as their parents. Following the difficulties in Worcester they have met with Christians in Malvern since 2017.

In 2016 Rachel developed cancer and despite three courses of chemotherapy was taken to be with the Lord on 26 November 2019.

On her last day Charles wrote:

It’s been an extremely difficult day- we feel very numb, very raw. I have been with Mum and she is very sleepy and not really ‘with it’. It’s so heart breaking to see her like that and going downhill so quickly. She had bad pain, so they gave her liquid morphine. The nurse said that she hasn’t got long to live. The only comfort is that Mum has been through so much- chemotherapy, blood tests, scans etc- that she may soon be out of suffering. Rachel means ‘lamb’ and as a ‘ewe, she bore’ suffering in a gentle uncomplaining way- a faithful and true follower of the Lamb of God. Yet we rest in hope that our Lord may come BEFORE then and take us ALL to be with Himself forevermore. Amen, come Lord Jesus!

Earlier in the day Bronnie had written: . I saw the Consultant with Mum and there’s nothing more they can do. A doctor said mum is the best patient he had ever had. She’s safe in those arms of Jesus

She was taken to be with the Lord about 11pm that evening.

 

Rachel Goode’s Burial

Regarding the Burial on 19 December 2019, Charles Goode wrote (edited to make it less personal):

Introduction

We thought that the saints would be interested in a few notes about my dear mother’s burial. In the same way that she demonstrated remarkable faith and trust throughout her lifetime – a ‘triumph of faith’ as John Turner called it – the Lord really came in with the burial, far above what we could have asked or thought. As one brother observed, it was remarkable how the personality and character of Mum was so clearly reflected in her burial. In her case, it was a strong faith and the way she radiated the love of Jesus to all that she met. A remarkable number of people (approximately 230 in all) attended the burial – including relatives, neighbours, colleagues, and friends.

The meeting itself began by Chris Goode speaking briefly about how the love of Jesus radiated out from my mother and, as the Centre of her life, it was our desire for Him to be at the Centre of the burial meeting.

* Chris Goode (Malvern) gave out of her favourite hymns – 291 (Hymns from the 1961 version of the Little Flock Hymnbook – published by the Dunbar Trust – accessible online) ‘Lo! He comes, from heaven descending’ – to the very rousing tune ‘Cwm Rhondda’ (the tune to ‘Guide me oh Thou great Redeemer’) and it was a very uplifting start to the meeting. 291 was also sung at their wedding meeting back in 1991.

* Jimmy Gray (Tunbridge Wells) then gave out 375 – ‘Lord, though Thy saints be laid to rest’

* Daniel Roberts (Gillingham – editor of ‘Today if ye will hear His Voice’) then prayed making reference to the challenges and suffering which Chris and Rachel had experienced in their life and also that the Lord’s Name would be proclaimed in the meeting.

Words

In terms of the words, three brothers spoke quite quickly one after the other including:

John Turner (Malvern) – The Triumph of Faith- Luke 8:46-48; Mark 11: 22; Hebrews 11:1-6

The vital importance of faith. Faith to believe in God, faith to reach out the Lord Jesus as Saviour and faith to sustain the believer in their pathway here. Rachel’s life was a life of faith and the Lord was gracious sparing her for nearly three years after she was diagnosed and was very poorly with cancer.

John Hutson (Bromley) – Let Your Light Shine Before Men- Matthew 5:14-16; John 8:12

Our brother had known Rachel all his life and from a young age her love and testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ shone out – this was because she followed the Light of the world. But how about us – are we going to hide our lights under bushels?

 

Ben Bodman (Keynsham,Bristol) – Caring with Genuine Feeling How the Saints Get On– John 19: 25&26; Philippians 2:20

Mum was one who was always concerned about others and thought more of others than of herself, including asking others how they were rather than focusing on herself. She learned this from the wonderful care that the Lord Jesus Himself has shown – caring for us so much that He died for us and considered for His mother even on the cross. But how about us – are we now going to show that care and genuine feeling for one another?

After these touching words, which so clearly reflected Rachel’s life, we then had 4 hymns – she always loved singing.

* Grahame Smith (Bromley) gave out 85 (There is rest for the weary soul)

* David Crozier (Warrenpoint) 345 (O Lord, do Thou our souls inspire)

* Martin Richards (Malvern) 165 (‘Tis not far off – the hour)

* Charles Goode (Malvern) gave out 262 (Great God of wonders! all Thy ways) (another hymn that the Goode’s had at their wedding meeting).

Committal at the Cemetery

There were about 200 in the cemetery although it was very wet and muddy and time was limited.
Charles Goode gave out just verses 1 and 5 of 213 (‘In hope we lift our wishful, longing eyes’). The singing was incredible. He then read Luke 23:39-43. He firstly said a few words of thanks for all the happy memories that we had had with his mother, and for everyone who cared so well for her, especially the medics, Bronnie and the Standing sisters. 2 Samuel 12: 22,23 was quoted to thank everyone for their prayers, pleading with the Lord to heal his dear mother. However they were to know the meaning the Lord’s words to the thief ‘today with Me in paradise’. The family loved Rachel but the Lord loved her more, and she was now enjoying unending bliss.

Charles then brought in the Gospel by saying that his mother’s place in paradise was not because she was a good person but because Jesus died for her sins at Calvary. She, like the dying thief and us all, was a sinner but that the gospel very simply involves acknowledging that each one of us has sinned, and are sinners, but we recognise the perfection of our Saviour Jesus. Charles closed by saying that the thief had a future view of Jesus as the King but that the Lord had something in mind for the thief that day. Jesus is available as a Saviour of all today, and the greatest blessing which could arise from her death would be for someone to put their faith and trust in Him.

Chris Goode then read Psalm 23 and spoke of Rachel’s life. She had always trusted the Lord as her Shepherd – ‘Jesus led me all the way’. He also brought in the wonderful hope that we have in the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4). His committal prayer was very powerful, tender and moving despite the terrible weather.

After Chris had committed his wife’s body to the Lord, Charles said that we (who remain) need hope for today so we sang the hymn that his grandfather (Ted Standing) sung on the day He was taken, aged 54, in 1979: ‘How good is God we adore’ (23).

Charles Goode’s Final Comments

We miss Mum so, so much and are absolutely broken-hearted. We were all very close to Mum – she was so calm, placid and patient! Her kindness and care radiated to all. Yet in the midst of the darkness of death, in the midst of crushing sorrow and deep desolation, the great comfort is that our Lord Jesus “bringeth out into light the shadow of death” (Job 12:22) and thanks be to God: “Where, O death, [is] thy sting? where, O death, thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). Our prayer is ‘in life, in death, O Lord abide with me’. A neighbour, said that the great comfort to him when his Mum died suddenly years was: “And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall not exist any more, nor grief, nor cry, nor distress shall exist any more, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Amen, Lord be it soon!

Charles Goode, (slightly edited)
Worcester, January 2020

Address Chelmsford by William Guindi – 18 January 2020 – Christ Needed for Every Situation

Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

The poor wise man who delivered the city – Like Jesus the Deliverer, and he is forgotten.  Think of how He did it – Alone He bore the cross.  

Exodus 15:22-26

The bitter waters of Marah (still the same word in Arabic).  They needed wood – the humanity of Jesus.

2 Kings 4:38-44

Jesus talked a lot about food.  Here we have death in the pot – cured by Christ (meal).  Result food to eat. 

 

Preaching Bromley Stuart Bodman – 1 December 2019 – The Miraculous Birth of Jesus and His Miraculous Death

Luke 2:6-14
And it came to pass, while they were there, the days of her giving birth to her child were fulfilled, and she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him up in swaddling-clothes and laid him in the manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds in that country abiding without, and keeping watch by night over their flock. And lo, an angel of the Lord was there by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they feared with great fear. And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I announce to you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people; for to-day a Saviour has been born to you in David’s city, who is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign to you: ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good pleasure in men.

Luke 23:13-25, 44-46

And Pilate, having called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, said to them, Ye have brought to me this man as turning away the people to rebellion, and behold, I, having examined him before you, have found nothing criminal in this man as to the things of which ye accuse him; nor Herod either, for I remitted you to him, and behold, nothing worthy of death is done by him.  Having chastised him therefore, I will release him.  ( Now he was obliged to release one for them at the feast.)

But they cried out in a mass saying, Away with this man and release Barabbas to us; who was one who, for a certain tumult which had taken place in the city, and for murder, had been cast into prison. Pilate therefore, desirous to release Jesus, again addressed them. But they cried out in reply saying, Crucify, crucify him.  And he said the third time to them, What evil then has this man done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will chastise him therefore and release him. But they were urgent with loud voices, begging that he might be crucified. And their voices and those of the chief priests prevailed. And Pilate adjudged that what they begged should take place. And he released him who, for tumult and murder, had been cast into prison, whom they begged for, and Jesus he delivered up to their will. . .

And it was about the sixth hour, and there came darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple rent in the midst. And Jesus, having cried with a loud voice, said, Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit. And having said this, he expired.

Fellowship Meeting Keynsham 16 September 2019 Peter Mutton

 

Fellowship Meeting Reading – Peter Mutton

Keynsham (Bristol)

John 10:7-11,

Psalm 23 (whole Psalm)

Having life abundantly – the Shepherd

Apologies for poor quality audio

Ruth 1:1-11,14-22

Recovery

Fellowship Meeting Knaresborough 9 November 2019

A local exercise was to have a two readings on the subject of prayer:

Reading 1 – Why we pray: Paul Burton

Reading 2 – How we pray: Ben Bodman


 

 

First reading suggested by Paul Burton – Why we Pray

Gen 18 whole chapter

We are told to pray about 20 times in scripture. It is an integral part of the believers life. We need to see what the point of Prayer is. If God knows everything why do we need to pray?
1. We pray because God wants our company
2. We pray because others need our prayers
3. We pray because we have needs ourselves
Abraham was a friend of God: God had pleasure in the relationship and delighted in telling him what He planned. We can share our Joys, sorrows and secrets with God. We should start a day by asking God what we should do. Thereby we get to know what God is like. We call God our Father. He is greater than our natural father.

 


 

Second Reading suggested by Ben Bodman. How we pray.

Luke 11:1-4

This is commonly called the Lord’s prayer. It could not be (forive us our trespasses) . John 17 is really the Lord’s prayer.

Relationship: Our Father
Reverence: hallowed be thy name
Reliance: give us our daily bread
Repentance: forgive us our sins
Release: we forgive others. Showing grace
Answers. “Yes”. – “No” – “Not yet”


 

Preaching Knaresborough 10 November 2019 James Shearer

Luke 14:16-24
Matt 11”25-30
John 7:27-29
Rom 2:4

The simple message – come – There is a great celebration and God wants your company.

 

 


Brothers taking part in the readings included:

Bruce Batchelor Knaresborough
Paul Batchelor Knaresborough
Andy Bodman Dorking
Ben Bodman Keynsham
Ed Bodman Dorking
Stuart Bodman Dorking
John Brady Laceby
Chris English Cambuslang
Reg Flowerdew Camberley
Conrad Fry Cambuslang
Jimmy Gray Tunbridge Wells
Ken Hollands Lytham St Annes
Paul Hutson Grimsby
Jim Macfarlane Blairgowrie
Tom Munro Cambuslang
Peter Mutton Walton on Naze
Keith Pye East Wemyss
Martin Richards Malvern
Daniel Roberts Gillingham
James Shearer Aberdeen
Adrian Smith Knaresborough
Grahame Smith Bromley
Brian White Islip

Fellowship Meeting Stawell Australia David Crozier 12 October 2019

Introduction

My wife and I were privileged to be at a fellowship meeting in Stawell Australia in October 2019.

As many will know Australia has suffered much through the activities of unspiritual persons in an area so much affected by the ‘Exclusive System’ now known as the PBCC.  Paul said to the Ephesian elders ‘I know this, that there will come in amongst you after my departure grievous wolves, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall rise up men speaking perverted things to draw away the disciples after them‘ (Acts 20:29-30).

There were about 25 present, and I know that some overcame much to be there.  This account has been published as much for the prayers of all concerned as for the content.

Reading – Joy in Luke 15 – the Shepherd, the Woman and the Father’s House

Luke 15 (whole chapter)


Address – Divine Resources

2 Kings 4:1-7 – the woman with the pot of oil (the Holy Spirit)

Luke 10:29-36 – the Samaritan – oil, wine and two denarii

2 Cor 12:15 – what God had given Paul, who was prepared to spend and be utterly spent

Lord’s Day Reading – The Glory of God seen

Ex 3:1-6  – A great sight – the bush not burnt

John 1:14-18 – The Word dwelling among us

2 Cor 3:17-18, 4:5-7 – We all looking on the glory of the Lord: collective

 

Preaching Phil Gasston – A Work has been completed; God has been glorified, and we are indelibly registered

John 17:4

Rom 8:31-32

Heb 12:23 (middle)


Brothers taking part included:

Peter Alexander Dorking, England
Ken Clark Stawell Vic
Brian Cox Moe Vic
David Crozier (Sr) Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland
Phil Gasston Auckland, New Zealand
Ross Grace Melbourne Vic
Fayez Nour Sydney NSW
Terry Pert Ballarat Vic
Daniel Roberts Gillingham, England
Graham Sutherland Stawell Vic

 

Fellowship Meeting Malvern Stuart Bodman 13 July 2019

Reading – The Lord Jesus as Head

Colossians 1:18

Colossians 2:18-19

Colossians 3:12-13

Ephesians 4:4 ‘ There is one body’

 


Address – God’s Delight in Obedience and Attention

1 Samuel 15:22

Psalm 6:6

What shall I do? – Preaching by Ben Bodman

Issue No 8

Preaching  by Ben Bodman at Bromley 24 February 2019

And he began to speak to the people this parable: A man planted a vineyard and let it out to husbandmen, and left the country for a long time.  And in the season he sent to the husbandmen a bondman, that they might give to him of the fruit of the vineyard; but the husbandmen, having beaten him, sent him away empty.  And again he sent another bondman; but they, having beaten him also, and cast insult upon him, sent him away empty.  And again he sent a third; and they, having wounded him also, cast him out.  And the lord of the vineyard said, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: perhaps when they see him they will respect him.  But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may become ours.  And having cast him forth out of the vineyard, they killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do to them?  He will come and destroy those husbandmen, and will give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it they said, May it never be!

Luke 20:9-16

And the governor answering said to them, Which of the two will ye that I release unto you? And they said, Barabbas. Pilate says to them, What then shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ? They all say, Let him be crucified.

Matthew 27:21-22

And he spoke a parable to them, saying, The land of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly.  And he reasoned within himself saying, What shall I do? for I have not a place where I shall lay up my fruits.  And he said, This will I do: I will take away my granaries and build greater, and there I will lay up all my produce and my good things;  and I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much good things laid by for many years; repose thyself, eat, drink, be merry.  But God said to him, Fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; and whose shall be what thou hast prepared?  Thus is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Luke 12:16-21 

And as he went forth into the way, a person ran up to him, and kneeling to him asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?  But Jesus said to him, Why callest thou me good? no one is good but one, that is God.  Thou knowest the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honour thy father and mother.  And he answering said to him, Teacher, all these things have I kept from my youth.  And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, One thing lackest thou: go, sell whatever thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross.  But he, sad at the word, went away grieved, for he had large possessions

Mark 10:17-22

And it came to pass, as I was journeying and drawing near to Damascus, that, about mid-day, there suddenly shone out of heaven a great light round about me.  And I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said to me, I am Jesus the Nazaraean, whom thou persecutest.  But they that were with me beheld the light, and were filled with fear, but heard not the voice of him that was speaking to me.  And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said to me, Rise up, and go to Damascus, and there it shall be told thee of all things which it is appointed thee to do.

Acts 22:6-10

What shall I do?

Each of the passages I have read contains the question, ‘What shall I do?

There is a verse in the prophet Joel that says, ‘Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!‘ (Joel 3:14).  There are always decisions to make, problems to resolve and challenges to meet.  The most significant decisions relate to our soul salvation and our Christian pathway.  That is why I have read these passages, each with the words, ‘What shall I do? 

God asks the question, ‘What shall I do?’  

The Lord uses a very pointed parable – a story to illustrate His own feelings – – maybe we have lost the power of storytelling as a way of conveying complicated and difficult truths.

It is amazing that God should ask the question, ‘What shall I do?’ in a parable that is full of feeling and pathos.  It gives us an insight into the heart of God Himself because Jesus was telling the story of what was going to happen to Him.  God has not put us on this earth to have a fantastic career and to get lots of possessions, but to have a relationship with Himself, sanctifying us for an eternity with Himself.

Right at the beginning of creation, God planted the garden of Eden.  This was a special place which man was supposed to guard and till – a place where God could have communion with His creature.  It says that God came down in the cool of the day when the day’s work had been done, and man and his wife were feeling relaxed and comfortable (see Genesis 3:8).

This garden (or vineyard in the parable) was planted in the middle of Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) 4000 years before the Lord came here.  Satan came in and damaged it:  He deceived man, so distance from God had come in.  Man could not stay there anymore: he could no longer be trusted.  God had said of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ‘In the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt certainly die’ (Genesis 2:17)  Man did die, not yet physically, but something had died in man, which was not rectified until the Lord Jesus died Himself to resolve the great matter of sin, and to restore communion.

It says that the Lord of the vineyard ‘left the country for a long time’ (Luke 20:9).  All through the Old Testament period, God was away.  He let the vineyard out to husbandmen – we would call them now tenant farmers, or even sharecroppers.  It was to be 4000 years until the Lord Jesus came and walked on this earth again.  In the meantime, God had sent messengers – kings, leaders and prophets, and they had all been rejected.   Although God was not getting the fruit from His vineyard, there were persons like Abraham, Moses and David – men and women in the Old Testament that pleased God and He enjoyed communion with them.

Many of his prophets had to suffer.  One of them was Jeremiah.  Jeremiah was told to stop saying things, and if he were not quiet, they would put him into a pit.  He was thrown into the pit, but the king commanded his men to go and get him out, and he was dragged out by rags under his arms. (See Jeremiah 38)There were other prophets, like Ezekiel, Hosea, and others whose names are not given, and they all had to suffer.  The stories of these prophets are most impressive.

Finally, God might have said, ‘What shall I do?  How can I resolve this matter of sin?  How can I have man righteously and in a holy way back in My presence again?  What should I do?’  (I am putting a lot of emotion into this – let us not read the scriptures too coldly and blandly).    God continues, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son’ (Luke 20:13).  Remember, the Lord Jesus was telling a story about Himself.  His disciples might have wondered what was coming: they had heard Him say that the Son of Man was going to suffer and die, but they hadn’t quite grasped it.  

God continues in verse 13, ‘Perhaps when they see him they will respect him’.  But these husbandmen reason, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may become ours’ (v. 14).   They cast him out and killed him.  That was man’s answer to the question God asked, ‘What shall I do?  God is not forcing anyone to give their heart to Christ.  In the gospel, He is drawing, attracting and compelling people by love.   But one day, every single being will be made to bow the knee to Jesus.

Of course, we know that behind the Lord’s death was the pre-determinate counsel of God (See Acts 2:23).  There are clues to this in the Old Testament: ‘Here am I, send me’ (Isaiah 6:8), and ‘Behold, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy good pleasure, my God’ (Psalm 40:7-8).  These were written about the Lord Jesus. 

God’s question, ‘What shall I do?’ was answered through the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross, the suffering and shedding of His blood to restore man’s communion with God.

Pilate’s Question

In Matthew 27 Pilate asked, ‘What then shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?’ (v. 21).  Try to picture the scene and the emotions going through it – the clamour of the chief priests, the Sadducees and the Pharisees as they roused the mob to chant and jeer, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him’.  You can imagine it like a demonstration outside Parliament.  One calls, ‘What shall we do with Jesus?’, and the crowd chants ‘Crucify Him’.

God had asked the question – now Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus.  Pilate was a politician playing to the gallery.  Although the gospels portray Pilate as a weak man, he was cruel.  Jesus spoke of the occasion when he mingled the blood of the Galileans with their sacrifices (see Luke 13:1).  He could not care less about the Jewish race; he was only in it for himself.  He did what he liked.  Historical tradition is not always accurate, but it is thought that he was called back to Rome in AD36 because his atrocities had gone too far.

Every person in the world has to answer the question, ‘What shall I do about Jesus?  What does He mean to me?’  You turn up at the preaching every Sunday, nod and assess the quality of the sermon.  But as you go out of that door, you will have decided whether you have accepted or rejected Him. There are only two choices.  I can thank God that in His grace, He gave me chance after chance after chance, making rejections until one day, I gave my heart to Jesus.  If you go out of this hall, not having given your heart to Jesus, you will have rejected him.  If you have not yet accepted Him as your Saviour, we pray that you will.

A Successful Farmer’s Question

In Luke 12 we have a successful farmer, and he was making decisions.

Where we were last night a young person faced with decisions on leaving school was asking, ‘What shall I do?’.  She had many options, apprenticeships, university courses, a gap year, and so on.  Of course, we advised her first to seek the Lord’s mind and serve His interests.  As we progress, we have more career choices.

This man had had a pretty good career: he was a wealthy farmer who had worked hard, so his land had brought forth abundantly.  Maybe he was an exporter as well, the CEO of a company that he had built by his own ability.  He had so much that he was going to knock down his barns, build bigger ones and have a good time.  But God had other plans:  He said, ‘Fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee’ (Luke 12:20).  He had been climbing a ladder; he had reached the top and then realised that all the time, he had been climbing the wrong ladder – that is what you will find in business.  

Many people in this world are like this man.  They are making decisions and organising their whole lives accordingly.  Those of us at work have reviews and are asked, “What are you going to do in two years; what is your goal in five years?”  It is good to have goals, but is the Lord Jesus the primary motivator, force and object in your life?

This man had made the wrong decision.  Of course, he could have said, ‘What shall I do’ in the right sense.  When faced with choices, we should ask the Lord what we should do, where we should go, and how should we do it. He might not give an immediate answer.  God is not so much interested in what house, car or job I have got; He is interested in what kind of person I am: am I more like Jesus? 

There are questions which have important eternal consequences, so let us make sure that they are answered rightly.  Otherwise, God will have to say, ‘Fool’.

The Rich Young Ruler’s Question

The young man in Mark 10:17 asked the Lord, ‘What shall I do that I might inherit eternal life?  What he did not anticipate was the answer.  He had obtained everything this world could provide, but there was one thing he hadn’t got and that was eternal life.  Jesus answered him very gently.  He said, ‘You know the commandments’, but listed only six of them. ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honour thy father and mother’ (v.19).  Those were the commandments he could truthfully say he had kept.  Paul tells us in Romans 7:7, that though we may not have killed, stolen or committed adultery, lusting for (Darby) or coveting (KJV) things that are not ours is a commandment which none of us can keep.  Paul said that it was that commandment which slew him, he had kept all the others.  Jesus looked on this man and loved him, but in effect, He said, ‘There is one thing: your possessions mean too much to you.  Just give them away’.

Of course, the Lord is not stating you have to live in a community where everything belongs to everyone else.  He knows what touches us most, the things we want and desire.  He knows that in our hearts we want to hold on to what we value the most, But He says, ‘Let it go.  Give it all away’.   We can imagine this young man’s thoughts, ‘What a waste!  I have built all this up, I have managed to achieve all these things, and now I have got to give it all away, follow Him, to have treasure in heaven’ (see v.21).   Little wonder he went away grieved.  We don’t know what happened afterwards, God knows.  I like to think he changed his mind – Jesus loved him – but the passage is just left for us to think about.  There is a very important verse in second Timothy, ‘The Lord knows those that are His’ (ch 2:19.  We cannot say who is saved or not; it is God’s matter.

Paul’s Question

Saul of Tarsus had had a fantastic career – he could have been like that man in Luke 12 or in Mark 10.  In Acts 22 he related his history.  He had been educated at the feet of Gamaliel – we might say he was the top dog of his day, the one who everyone looked up to.  He was rich too – he said in Philippians 4:12, ‘I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound.’   Now he came to this moment in his life when all he had trusted in – his career, his riches, his companions – were smashed.  Jesus had become the most important Person in his life.  He turned from being a hater of Jesus to a lover of Jesus.  He had been trapping people and dragging them off to prison; now he would embrace them, working with them to bring them into a greater knowledge of Jesus.  However, he starts this new pathway off by saying, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’

He recounted, ‘The Lord said to me, Rise up, and go to Damascus, and there it shall be told thee of all things which it is appointed thee to do’ (Acts 22:10).  It needed someone else to come along, put his arms around him and call him, ‘Brother Saul’.   The local company in Damascus had been in fear and trepidation, but they drew round him and helped him.  We will find, I am sure, some of the answers to the question of what we should do amongst our fellow believers, those that love the Lord Jesus.  They support and care for us, helping us along our journey.

Conclusion – Your Question

God asked the question; Pilate asked the question; the rich man asked the question; the young ruler asked the question and Paul asked the question, “What shall I do?”.  I ask you the question now: What are you going to do with Jesus?  You have an eternal soul.  Your eternal salvation depends on putting your trust in the finished work of Jesus and the saving power of His blood.  May each of us make the right choice, for His Name’s sake.