“Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (Mark 10:21-22 NLT)
The story of the “Rich Young Ruler,” as it has come to be called, is one of the most sobering stories in the gospels. Here is a man who is devoted, learned and apparently ready to follow Jesus. But when asked to part with the thing he loved most in the world - his wealth - he couldn’t do it and turned away.
While sermons on this story often, and understandably, focus on the dangers of greed, but the real issue is idolatry. This man valued his possessions - and the comfort, security and status that came with them - to the extent that he valued them so highly that they became the true god of his life.
Jesus recognized this, and put him to the test by asking him to give up his false god. When asked to give up his wealth, the man simply couldn’t - after all, they were what he worshipped above all else.
If you were in this man’s place, what would Jesus ask you to give up? Could you do it?
Jesus’ message is clear: if you aren’t willing to give up everything to follow Him, you aren’t His disciple. As He says in the Sermon on the Mount - no one can serve two masters…