So yesterday, Jesus revealed to the rich young man what was lacking in his life. He proposes that this man sells all his property and give the proceeds to the poor. Having heard this from Jesus, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
We continue the story today, reflecting on Matthew 19:23-30. Now this rich young man has come to realize that Christ’s high standards and his own ambitions and desires were incompatible. He wanted the heavenly treasure, but wanted also the temporal advantages his riches would bring him. Unfortunately, such conditions don’t exist.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. Matthew 19:23-30 New International Version (NIV)
Like the rich young ruler, many of us long for the privilege of everlasting life, but are not willing to put Jesus first in this life. Remember, not every person is required to give up all wealth, but this young man had made riches his god, and was in fact breaking the first and second commandments by making riches were his idol. The truth is that money itself has a way of polluting us, by tempting us to compromise our values in order to gain and retain it.
You may not be wealthy like this young man, but is there anything, any hindrance, that you are unwilling to give up just to follow Jesus? If there is something you possess, or that possesses you, laying it down is a vital part of following the Master. He must have your all, as he calls gently to you: “Come, follow me”. Will you respond positively or walk away like the rich young man?
Peace and Joy
Written by Rev. Fr. Courage Dogbey