There was an eagerness in the young man who ran up to Jesus. We know that he was a wealthy man who followed the Jewish law and kept the commandments.
His question to Jesus was simple, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Perhaps he was thinking that he could earn his way into heaven. He had a feeling that he was not doing enough. There was something missing in his life. I love the sentence that says, “Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him.”
Then Jesus threw down a challenge. The man lacked one thing. Jesus asked him to sell all he had, give the money to the poor and then follow him. At that moment it was a step too far for him. “His face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.”
When I read this story, I imagine him going home and thinking about what Jesus had asked of him and then, perhaps later, searching for Jesus and saying, “Ok, I will do this and I will follow you.”
Jesus had wanted him to come to faith. He wanted the young man to trust him. What was stopping the young man was his wealth. He was clinging onto his possessions. You could say that his wealth possessed him. Jesus was calling him to go deeper, to let go.
When I hear this story I ask myself, “What am I clinging onto? Is there anything in my life that is preventing me from seeking God with all my heart?” Jesus, when he said, “follow me,” was asking the man to rely on God, to live by grace, and let go of what he thinks he can’t do without his possessions.
Here are questions we can ponder this week.
- Is Jesus enough for me?
- Am I willing to allow God to be my strength and security?
- In what do I ultimately trust? Could it be money, possessions, status or power?
- Am I willing to let go of whatever hinders my full commitment to Jesus and his way.
It is important to remember that Jesus looks at you and loves you. It is never too late. Allow the gaze of Christ to fill you with hope and strength and joy.
The response to the psalm today is, “Fill us with your love so that we may rejoice.”