You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. Verse 22 (NIV)
I recall a young man coming into my office to ask me a very similar question as the one found in our text. He wanted to be sure that he was going to heaven. I told him he could be sure if he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. When I told him that Jesus was willing to forgive all and any sin in his life, we ran into a roadblock. No matter how I challenged him that he needed forgiveness of sin, he continuously informed me he had never sinned. Not a lie, not a stolen cookie, not a harsh word spoken – he had done nothing wrong. He was truly blind to his own need for forgiveness or salvation.
I am amazed at how Satan blinds so many of us or how blind we can be ourselves to our own faults. I believe this young ruler was challenging Jesus to a showdown, thinking he already had eternal life in his pocket. So, Jesus, knowing where this guy was coming from, rattled off a summary of the law: no adultery; no murder; no stealing; no lying; no dishonoring of parents. The ruler proudly announced, “All these I have kept since I was a boy.”
This man had long ago convinced himself he had done everything right for God. But Jesus knew where his weak spot was. “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow me.
Jesus’ words hit the man like a brick wall. His possessions were what made him a somebody. His life revolved around all the things that brought him importance and acceptance.
I can also imagine that the thought of giving his wealth to the poor probably made him cringe. These were the very people he saw as beneath him. The thought of handing over his hard-earned wealth to the poor did not feel like the eternal life he was planning. To him, treasures on earth were much better than treasure in heaven. Suddenly the blinders fell from his eyes and he saw himself and he left sad.
The Jesus life always calls us to follow the Lord ahead of everything else in our lives and it calls for us to be fully aware of who we are with our eyes wide open.
Lord Jesus give me the desire to follow you completely and to see myself as I really am. Amen.