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?”
So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”
And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
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.”
But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Mark 10:17-22
I read that passage in the bullpen at Coors Field in Colorado. It’s a good place to sit and think. So I read that passage, and then I sat quietly and asked Jesus about it. Am I that rich young man?
Right before we read about this young man, the Bible tells us that people were trying to bring their children in to be blessed by Jesus. The disciples told them to get away! But Jesus said, “Hey! What are you doing? You don’t block these kids from coming to me. These kids are the center of the Kingdom of God. They are It. Their kind of faith is what this Kingdom is built on. You want to know how to be saved? You want to have eternal life? Then you need to have childlike faith.”
Here is what I think happened. I think this young man was there when Jesus said that we must have childlike faith to enter the Kingdom. Wanting to know more, he followed Jesus in order to to ask Him about it. It’s as though he said, “But Jesus, I’m not a child. So what do I need to do?” And when He heard that, Jesus said, “You know what to do. Keep the commandments. Don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, and so on.” And the young man said, “Okay, I’ve done that.” And Jesus said, “Right. So go, and sell everything you have.”
Jesus was helping the young man understand how to have childlike faith. Children don’t have anything. They’re totally dependent on their parents. My sons say, “Dad, I’m hungry,” and they expect me to give them food. “Dad,” they say, “I’d like to have this toy. Go buy it!” They think money is made on trees. They tell me to take that card thing of mine and swipe it, because they think that’s all I need to do. They are totally dependent on me, for every single thing.
I don’t necessarily think God tells every rich man to go and give away all of his money. The ministry of God depends on people with money. You need money to push the Gospel. Bibles wouldn’t be printed, and missionaries wouldn’t survive without the support of people with money. Ministries aren’t built and people aren’t served without money. So you’ve got to have donors with money.
But I do think Jesus challenges me by asking, “Hey, look, would you be able to be totally dependent on me? You need to think about that, because you’re paid a lot of money.”
I truly believe it is God’s will to prosper you. But this story asks us an important question, and it’s one we have to think about. Are you that rich young man? More on this next time. See you Monday.