The Rich and the Kingdom of God
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
A young soul on the verge of finding eternal life, yet he passed it up…
Two things about him jump out at us immediately. One of them was that he was obviously a man who was aware of the Old Testament commands for how to live pleasing unto God. In (VV. 17-19), Jesus told the young man that he needed to keep the commands of the law.
It was as if he was eager to give his reply to Jesus. For as the Lord listed a few of the commands, the young man quickly responded that he had kept each of these laws.
But, then there is the second thing which is obvious, even curious, about this ruler. It seemed that he felt there was more to salvation than just the keeping of God’s commands. This is obvious in (V.20) when, after he had confirmed he had kept the commands, he asked “What do I still lack?” He was about to find out…
Jesus, who knew what was lacking in this man, then gave him the second part of the answer he sought. In (V.21) the Savior said “if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Suddenly, the despair of the situation set in. For the thought of giving up all he had to live a disciple’s “bedouin” lifestyle was not desirable his mind’s eye. He couldn’t meet the full requirement necessary to follow the Lord, his heart wasn’t in it.
(V.22) sums it all up very well…“When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
How sad! This young man, eager to pursue eternal life, found that what was necessary to have heaven’s riches would cost him his earthly riches. Suddenly, he had to make a choice, and he did. He walked away from the Lord…
This begs the question we must ask of ourselves today. Are we choosing the things of the world over the treasures of heaven? Is there anything more important to us in this life than the rewards of the next life? If so, we need to make an immediate change to our priorities!
Of course there is no sin in going after the finer things this life has to offer. But that’s not the point. There is only a problem when the desire for those things take the first place of desire in our hearts.
May we be blessed with great gain in this life, Lord willing. But if we are, do not let such treasure ever take greater importance than serving the Lord in our pursuit of eternal life. For the greatest goal we need to have in this world is to make it to heaven…
Refs: ~Google~ biblegateway.com~