“ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good – except God alone’… 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.’ At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” (Matthew 19:17-22)
The rich young man recognized Jesus’ goodness but He did not recognize who He really was. Jesus’ outward displays of compassion and goodness drew crowds to Him. Yet, these crowds did not know Him. In all matters Jesus was after the inner most part of a person, their heart, their soul. Where were they in relationship to God? Jesus saw in this one man a stumbling block of wealth that was preventing him from really knowing His Creator. His god of money ruled his life. He had to give it up, or redirect it, for an eternal relationship with his God.
Truthfully, money is a blessing but can become a great temptation. Money can lead to all kinds of sin, evil and disobedience to God. Money is nothing compared to following Jesus. The rich young man only believed that he had to give up his riches, not that he was being given the opportunity to use them, in following Jesus. He went away sad because he had many riches and was passing up the richness of Jesus, the Son of God. We dare not pass up Jesus for anything the world has to offer. Knowing Him, putting Him first, above all else, means ultimate life here and for eternity.
Heavenly Father, don’t let anything get in the way of knowing Your Son, Jesus. Put a hedge around us of protection from all temptations that would draw us from Him. Strengthen our faith and trust in Him for life now and eternally.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.