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 10:21 (NIV)
We stand by and watch as Jesus is questioned by this rich man. He came to Jesus to find out how to receive the kingdom of heaven. Jesus carefully walks him into understanding. He shows that no matter how well intended, the following of traditions and commands may be done without any real connection to the heart of God. Obviously this young man had been instructed well. He had obeyed what He believed God wanted from Him. Jesus´ heart went out to him. How many of us try so hard to be good people? How many of us think that we are doing what we are supposed to do? Was it not God who set men to the task of a following His commands? Are we not pleasing Him with our attempts?
Do we think that the Father´s heart goes out to us as well when He sees us attempting to please Him? Could we count on Him being as His Son in this respect? Was one of the purposes of sending us His Son for this reason, so that we could see and know that this is how He is too? Jesus continues to lead us forward. He points out where we and the rich young man fall short. He uncovers the secret ties of our heart.
Is it possible to do good for the wrong motives? Is it possible to comply with a command while our heart is still firmly set on private goals? Jesus shows the man that his heart lay with his possessions. Jesus sends the man away with the extremely difficult job of removing his treasures from the cleavage they have in his heart. He asks the man to do away with them and give to poor. He would have to lose all that He had. He would have to do it because following the rules did not penetrate deep enough into the soul. He would need to overcome his love of possession and take on a new nature. He would need a nature of love and selflessness. He needed to learn to give, not to have and to take.
Do we sense Jesus words falling on our ears? As He instructs the young man, do we find our hearts exposed? Are there ways where we hold some treasures close? Have we learned the secret of giving it all away? Are we secretly hoping to make up for our private hoard by making ourselves into model Christians?
We may go away sad like the man did when our Lord shows us where our hearts really lie. But Jesus´ words come to us again; “Then come, follow Me!” Jesus walked this path before us. He shows us the way. It is not a cold command. It is a call. He calls us to Him. He promises to be there. He will be there to guide us. He will walk us through it all. He will take us by the hand. He may have to carry us at times. He knows how hard it will be for us to get the consent of our entire heart to give up its toys. His heart goes out to us.
Have we taken the point too far? Is eternity worth making this big of a deal out of Jesus´ instruction? Are we prepared to look at ourselves? Will we allow Jesus to examine our hearts and show us what riches we are saving for ourselves? Are we willing to step out in faith? Can we still learn to give instead of hoard? Now is the time. Can we sell it all and follow Him?
Dear Jesus, the temptation is to not look too deep. It would be so painful to realize that our hard work in pleasing the Father is not enough. But to honor Your invitation we come. Help us leave our treasures. Help us give them all up. Then let us come and follow You!