The religious leader approached Jesus with a life-changing question: “”Good teacher, what should I do to get eternal life?” (Luke 18:1) Jesus’ reply wasn’t what he wanted to hear: “Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
How did the man respond? Did he agree? Did he empty his bank account and do as Jesus said? Nope. Instead, Scripture says he turned and walked away, sad because “he was very rich.”
My heart grieves for this man. He wants eternal life, but he doesn’t want to do what’s necessary to obtain it. He wants the benefit without any sacrifice on his part. Interesting…he doesn’t recognize Jesus as the Son of God, either. He calls Him a “good teacher.” Maybe that’s less threatening to him – it suggests that He’s nothing more than a mere man, and if that’s the case, then His words are debatable. His commands are optional.
I wonder how many times we ask a similar question: “Jesus, what must we do to experience Your blessing in our lives?”
Jesus’ answer might sound like this: “Give Me lordship over what matters most to you. Is it your money? Is it your career or reputation? Your family? How about your new house? Or your ministry goals? Give up your desperate hold on these things. Surrender them to Me. Follow Me with your whole heart. Trust Me.”
His words hit the target of our hearts. Surrender those things that matter most? But what if God takes them away? Then what? We turn and walk away sadly because our stuff and our relationships matter more than His blessing.
This story challenges me to (1) recognize Jesus as Lord, not simply as a good teacher. His words are truth and His commands are not optional. (2) Examine my heart to see if there’s anything I’m not willing to surrender to His lordship.
How badly did the religious leader want eternal life? Not badly enough.
How much do I want Jesus’ blessing in my life?