“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.”Mark 10:18-21
This man, the rich young ruler, comes running to Jesus, recognizing that he is a man from God.
He is looking to justify himself and show that he is worthy of being given eternal life.
He recognizes the value of eternal life, and along with his current riches, he wants to make sure that he is assured of life forever.
But Jesus isn’t, of course, thinking in the same way that this man is thinking. He isn’t thinking of whether or not the man has obeyed the law, which he says that he has done. He is thinking of the man’s heart and how it is more dedicated to his riches than he is to God. And he is thinking of how the man must come and do what God has called him to do. Not just be a rich man, but to be a man who is truly carrying out the calling that God has upon his life.
It isn’t enough to just be a good, moral person. No one can, but even if you could, Jesus wants the entirety of your heart, not only obedience to the rules.
Beyond this, Jesus calls the man to follow him. He wants the man to be part of what he is doing, to engage in the work that he is carrying out, to see his Kingdom continue to grow. But this is not what the man wants. He wants his own kingdom to grow, his own wealth to grow, and for God to owe him eternal life for what he has done.
Lord, I want to be a man that gives you everything that I am to be able to follow you. You know that, within me, there are desires to hold back from you, to keep for myself and for my enjoyment on this earth, but my true desire is to be a man that gives all to you. I pray that, like the man that Jesus called to believe so that his son would be healed, that you would help my unbelief. When I don’t believe that you are all that I need, I pray that you will remind me of who you have called me to be and that I would be sold out to you, your ways, and what you want for me.
This is an important lesson for those in the church. This week, I want to share this lesson with Christian believers that I meet.