Biblical literalists more eager to find loopholes in the Commands than to obey them will be the first to point out that Jesus never specifically commanded kindness upon his disciples. We could find no better example of straining at a gnat to swallow a camel.
The Command, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, may also seem an illusive one. A moment's reflection, however, reveals this as one of the most down-to-earth of all Jesus' Commands.
Among the "spiritual" Commands, few are so illusive as this. Jesus concludes his Do not be anxious about your life discussion of the birds of the air and lilies of the the field in Matthew 6 with the words: Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
One of the profound mysteries of the Christian Church is that human goodness has not comprised more focus in its theology. While it is true that greater good has been done throughout history by Christianity than any nation, movement, or creed, one is hard-pressed to find goodness at the center of any doctrinal teaching.
If we transplant Peter's question and the Lord's response from Matthew 18 into the sixth chapter where the theme of forgiveness emerges out of the Lord's prayer, we would have a succinct teaching on prayer, forgiveness, and the reach of forgiveness.
We noted that forgiveness is one of the least understood components of Christian doctrine. Sadly, it is misunderstood by Christians and non-Christians alike.
It is fearfully easy to read the Do Not Commands and assume, "Oh, I would never do that." Because the context of examples used by Jesus sometimes seems so ludicrously absurd, we too easily overlook our own glaring presence in the midst of the Gospel pages.
Created by his hand and in his image, all humanity are God's children. Yet we are put upon this earth to become something more, to become true sons and daughters of chosen obedience. Given life and, in time, independence, our destiny is gained by yielding back that independence into the hand of our Creator, and thus, by that relinquishment, discovering eternal childship.
Countless sermons and devotions have been based on Jesus' exchange with the man we know as the "rich young ruler." The first three gospels recount the story using largely identical words and phrases. Indeed, this passage is one of those upon which scholars base their conviction that Matthew and Luke founded their writings upon Mark's gospel.