Extended reading: Matthew 19:1-15 teaching on divorce; Jesus blessing children
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Have you ever done just what the man inquiring of Jesus in this story has done? Hearing the answer of what you have to do to truly accomplish something, but not really wanting to do it? I know I certainly have! I would like to be fit and healthier, but do I really have to give up chocolate cake and ice cream? After all, I do other things that are good for me! Sometimes it is so hard to follow the path we know God wants us to because it means sacrificing things that are a big part of our lives.
This man asks of Jesus what he needs to do to get eternal life, and is probably pleased with the fact that he has done most of the things Jesus mentioned, until Jesus tells him that he must give up all of his wealth to the poor and follow the Lord. That makes him sad because his life has most likely become intertwined with the wealth that he holds and it will be so different in its absence. What a leap of faith it would take for this man to give up all of his wealth and follow the Lord.
It is difficult to give up what we have worked hard for and what has allowed us to live a comfortable lifestyle. We feel protection in that wealth and have vested much of our selves in it. To take that leap of faith, giving up our possessions and following the Lord, is not an easy task but one that is freeing and one that has a future payment in eternal life with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear Lord, help us to understand your word and realize how very temporary of our lives here on earth are. Help us to know that we are meant to follow your path always and to do the right thing-even when it is not the easiest road traveled. Please continue to love us, teach us and guide us in your way. In your name we pray. Amen.