As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
- Mark 10:17-31
The rich young ruler has it all. He is rich. He is young. We can assume by this description that he has youthful health. He has power. Yes, money is power, but he is a ruler. People do as he says.
Oswald Chambers said over a hundred years ago, “we are possessed by possessions.” Mark Batterson, in All In, says that he has met people who were like that, being possessed by possessions.
But what does the rich young ruler also claim? He has followed all of the rules, including the commandments. Paul says that all have sinned, yet here is someone that claims not to have sinned. Batterson says this is the ‘epitome of religiosity’. Batterson compares religiosity and hypocrisy and says that the life of the Rich Young Ruler gives us a warning sign.
“If we hold out on God, we’ll miss out on everything that God wants to do in us, for us, and through us.”
– Mark Batterson, All In
Batterson starts his book with A. W. Milne leaving port for the New Hebrides in the South Pacific. He has packed his possessions in his coffin. This symbolizes that there is no turning back.
Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest, says the following:
“’… sell whatever you have…’ I must humble myself until I am merely a living person. I must essentially renounce possessions of all kinds, not for salvation (for only one thing saves a person and that is absolute reliance in faith upon Jesus Christ), but to follow Jesus, ‘… come … and follow Me.’ And the road is the way He went.”
Jesus is calling; don’t reject the call.