Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” . . . 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.”Matthew 19:16, 21 NIV
The story of this young man is familiar to many people. He was a man who had great wealth. And along with it, he would have had everything that money could buy. By the standards of that day, he was richly blessed by God. He also lived a righteous life, faithfully obeying the Ten Commandments. And probably the rest of the law as well. But something was missing.
And so he came to Jesus and asked him, “what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” In response, Jesus told him to sell everything he had and give the proceeds to the poor. And then come and follow Jesus.
Selling all of his possessions would not have been enough for him to obtain eternal life. Nor, as commendable as it would be, would giving all he had to the poor. Only by following Jesus would he be able to find what he was looking for.
So why then did Jesus tell him to give everything away if what was required was to follow? The man’s response to Jesus provides the answer to that. He went away sad because he had great wealth. He was unwilling to sacrifice the life he had to follow Jesus. Jesus does not call us to live a life of poverty. But he does call on us to leave behind anything that would get in the way of following him. Whether it is possessions, relationships, careers, habits, or dreams. Anything that hinders you from following Jesus must be left behind.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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