Focal passages: Matthew 19:21-30
The rich, young ruler comes to Jesus with an impressive résumé of outward obedience. He had followed God’s commandments since he was a child, and he believed Jesus had important answers regarding eternal life.
But when he asked, “What do I still lack?” Jesus responded, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:20-21).
Instead of being overwhelmed with joy and gratitude, having found his greatest treasure in Jesus, the young man walked away disappointed.
The Lord may call, and has called, some to sell all their possessions. But in these verses, Jesus addressed the rich man’s heart by pointing out that the young man valued something more than our Savior. His allegiance to his earthly possessions was greater than his commitment to God.
After the scene unfolds, Jesus turns to His disciples and says, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:23-25). The rich young man seemed to have it all; had he not done everything right and been blessed by God? If Jesus’ words were true, how could anyone hope to be saved?
Being a good person isn’t our ticket into heaven. Submission to Christ as Lord is the true path to salvation. Just as Christ told the young man to follow Him, He pointed the disciples back to a relationship with God.
“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 6:26).
Is there anything you’re holding on to instead of obedience to Christ?
Is Jesus truly worth losing everything for? And if He asked us to, would we faithfully trade in all else to have Him?