One of the (in my opinion) saddest encounters Jesus has in His travels is with a man we know almost nothing about. He's simply given the name of "Rich Young Ruler." We know he was either a civic or religious leader, we know he had great wealth, and we know he was a decent guy, but apart from that, we know little else. The Rich Young Ruler (We'll call him the RYR because his title is so long...) was a decent guy. He kept the ten commandments, he was an observant and devout jew, he did everything he was supposed to, and was likely admired and well thought of by those who knew him, whether personally or by reputation. He was a decent guy, so when he approached Jesus of Nazareth, he was hoping to hear that everything he was doing was on track to inherit God's Kingdom. But there was a problem, and it wasn't much different from the one we share with him. While he was observant of the Law and the Prophets, while he was a decent guy, he lacked one thing: His inheritance was not in heaven or eternity. He loved his wealth, his position, and his earthly inheritance far more than his eternal one. When the Rabbi suggested he sell everything, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow Him, the RYR could not do it. Unfortunately, the news for us is not good either. Like the Rich Young Ruler, many of us put way too much stock in our Real Estate. We'd love to follow Jesus, but our current focus is on our families, our homes, our jobs, our portfolios, taking care of the future plans for our retirement, <you fill in the blank here>. The fact is this life is short, and eternity is forever. Our relationships, stuff, money, positions, lives will some day end. It's not just old people who pass away (sadly), and if we think we have time, we're fooling ourselves. If we're not ready now to surrender everything and follow Jesus, when will we ever be? While none of these things listed is bad, they are not the point of life, Jesus is! If you have a job, relationship, wealth, position, or anything else the Lord has blessed you with, praise the Lord for it, but be prepared to do with it what He desires (even if it is to give it up). Some day we shall stand before the Lord, and it is my hope that I stand with Him with people I introduced to His son, including my four children who I am discipling alongside my wife. It is my hope that my earthly treasures are vast and numerous, not material possessions, but people who are more precious than 401ks, houses, and cars. To do this, I need to be focused on Jesus and eternity, not on earthly distractions. I need to love the souls of my wife, kids, neighbors, church brothers and sisters, and indeed everyone I meet as much as Jesus loved mine. I need to die to myself and for them to bring them to the ONE who died for us all. Church, if your spiritual life is unfulfilling, the source is our focus. We're focused on ourselves, AND NOT Jesus Christ. as the old Hymn suggests: Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in His wonderful face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace Mark 10:17-27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Rich Young Ruler
17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words [a]he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
23 And Jesus, looking around, *said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus *answered again and *said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.” 26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “[b]Then who can be saved?” 27 Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”