How would you respond if you were asked to give up the one thing that matters the most to you? Whether its family, money, health, status, career, home, or…..you fill in the blank. Is there anything so valuable that you would be willing to give up that which you most cherish?
Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good teacher, what should I do to get eternal life?” Jesus replied, “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’” The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was a child.” (Luke 18:18-21)
He was a man of the church yet he knew something was missing. He knew he wasn’t in a position to inherit eternal life. So he asked Jesus what needed to be done. This was a good man who was raised with integrity and a desire to obey God’s word. He had worked since childhood to obey the commandments. But Jesus went on to explain that there’s more to it than simply obeying the Ten Commandments.
Jesus said, “There is still one thing you lack. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22) Keeping the commandments and being a religious leader weren’t enough. Jesus asked the man to give up the one thing that stood between him and heaven. Unfortunately, the man was very rich and not willing to give it up. Jesus watched him sadly walk away…away from eternal life, peace, love, grace, mercy, all that Jesus had to offer. He rejected the opportunity to follow Jesus and have eternal life because he couldn’t give up something temporary.
I have to wonder if the man could have taken his money, would he have followed Jesus, but the fact remains that he couldn’t fully commit. Jesus wants our commitment. He wants our focus to be on Him and work for the kingdom.
We must be willing to give up the one thing that stands between us and heaven, and then follow him. Maybe it’s a style of living, an attitude, materialistic objects….any number of things can take priority and lead us to walk away from Jesus just as this religious leader did.
Heaven is simply a choice away, but it’s also easier said than done. As Jesus watched the man walk away, He said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God.” (Luke 18:24-27)
It isn’t easy. We can’t do it on our own, but God makes it possible to give up any thing that seems more important! What is standing between you and Jesus? Make the choice today to give it up and follow Him!
Photo credit: Chance Agrella – Freerangestock.com