Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
This young man was clearly following the teachings of the Law. Jesus said he only lacked one thing. Think of that – Jesus looking at your life and saying there was only one thing lacking in your walk with Him. Just one thing separated this young man from possessing eternal life. Just one thing. Yet it was something he was not willing to give up – not even for eternal life.
For him it was his riches. Perhaps he was afraid if he gave up all he owned he would be homeless and without any way to meet his daily needs. Perhaps he was proud of all he had achieved and was afraid without his possessions he would be a nobody. His very identity or sense of worth was in what his possessions.
Whatever the reason, he was not willing to sell his what he had and give to the poor. Possibly the rest of that statement of Jesus was too much also. To take up the cross. The cross was the symbol of shame and death. For him, it was too much to ask.
Trusting in our riches, our possessions is a dangerous thing for any of us. It is hard to trust in riches and rely upon God alone. Paul warned Timothy of this danger.
1 Timothy 6:9-12 – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 – Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
- What is the one thing that may keep you from fully surrendering to God?
- What is the one thing you are not willing to give up?
- What is the one thing you treasure over eternal life?
Jesus asked a very important question:
Mark 8:36-37 – “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”