So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
This man who Jesus is speaking to is described in Luke 18 as a rich, young ruler. The man had kept all of God’s commandments since his youth. He was a good person yet Jesus said, “You still lack one thing.” Then Jesus tells him, “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” The man’s response was sorrow because he was very rich. His heart was attached to his present wealth and security even though Jesus promised him eternal treasure if he would sell all he had and followed Him. He didn’t want to give up his life to follow Jesus. He had made it in the world and didn’t want to give up that security for a life of uncertainty and surrendering of rights to God. What he didn’t see was that his good life was an illusion that would disappear the moment he passed on from this short life and that he would have treasure in heaven if he was obedient. Jesus went on to say, after observing the rich man’s response, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Not only would he be gaining treasure in heaven, but he would also be gaining the better life in the present time.
As I am reading and thinking about what Jesus said about the rich young ruler, I am challenged as a Christian. I have decided to follow Jesus, but there are still things I haven’t let go of. The life I have to return to after I go back home is something that could keep me from taking this step that Jesus told the rich young man to do to inherit eternal life. My identity and earthly treasures that were so closely associated with my lifestyle before I set out on this trip to follow Jesus are still back home, tempting me to go back to the pursuit of worldly success. I’ve given a portion of my life to Christ, but there is still a part of my life I haven’t fully surrendered to the Lord. There’s an open door for me when I get back home to get a higher education and begin a career that will set me up to accomplish my childhood dreams of becoming a rich business man. The path I was on before I took this year to seek the Lord is still put on pause, and I don’t want it to hold me back from giving all to follow Jesus. I sure don’t want to miss out on what God wants to give me. He’s already given me eternal life, and He’s worthy of my whole being. The plans he has for me in this life are far greater than anything I could think of or imagine. With those promises, I’d be a fool to spend my life chasing my own dreams. He may even give me the desires I had for my life, but I want to follow Him. Saying no to living a really good life is a joyous thing when I consider that God wants to give me an even better life, even if it means suffering for His name’s sake, surrendering all that I have, and giving to the poor to follow Him. I’ve had this sense that God created me to do something great, but the motive behind it is no longer for my own glory but for God’s glory. I want to follow Jesus. Without Him I am a miserable kid with a bunch of toys and a selfish plan for my own life that won’t produce any eternal fruit. I want to follow Jesus. This life is a loss without Him.
Application: Ask the Lord for a pivotal change in my life that would set my course on following Jesus, separate me from anything of my old life, and store up for me treasure in heaven.
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14