17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Mark 10:17, 21-22
The young ruler in our text could represent a lot of Christians today. When he saw Jesus, he ran; he didn’t walk. This shows that he was enthusiastic and zealous. When he got to Jesus, he knelt down, which shows that he was submissive and reverent. He was also devoted and respectful: he addressed Jesus as “Master.” The young man was even holy. He told Jesus that he obeyed the Law from his youth. That is how some Christians are: we come to church every day and we are always the first to come; we pray the loudest; we prostrate before God and have great respect for our pastors. Frankly, does that really mean that we trust in God?
Jesus looked at the young ruler and though He loved him, He told him there was one thing that he lacked. He gave him the litmus test. Jesus further told him to sell all that he had, give it to the poor and come and follow Him. What an unexpected anti-climax! The young man left sorrowful because he had great possessions. Some Bible scholars say that “those possessions had him,” that was why he couldn’t let go of his possessions.
Jesus only wanted him to have riches in heaven where his riches would be safe and incorruptible. He wanted him to change the focus of his trust, but he could not see it. He thought Jesus was sentencing him to a life of poverty. That is all he could see because his trust was really in his riches and not in Jesus. Those who trust in God are able to give all that they have because they trust God and not in those things. Those who trust in gold cannot do so because they trust in their riches – gold and silver, and not in God.
Confession: I trust in God and not in riches. I am able to give all that I have because my trust is in God and not in my riches and possessions.