Luke 18: 20-24
“You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honour your father and mother.'” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
Luke positions this story immediately after Jesus saying we can only enter the kingdom as little children. The contrast of the children and this ruler is huge. You would have thought he would have no problems as a leading figure in the Jewish community and most probably the Temple.
Jesus mentions the 5 commandments that are focused on relationships with people. He has kept and is keeping these commandments of God but he still lacks assurance.
I believe Jesus does this for a reason.
He could have mentioned the other 5 commandments: You shall have no other gods before Me; You shall make no idols; You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; Keep the Sabbath day holy; You shall not covet.
But he doesn’t.
Jesus focuses on the commandments that deal with people.
If this man had walked into many churches we would have got him saved and certainly a tithing member as soon as possible! However, Jesus seems to purposely offend this man and to make it so difficult for him.
Jesus doesn’t say “repeat the sinners prayer and you’ll get eternal life,”
He says this and it is all pointed towards the commandments he has kept in reference to people.
You have everything
You have done everything
But you lack one thing
There is no lack in your life.
In the one area where you are rich the most, in your relationships, here is what you must do.
This is not another commandment for you to accomplish perhaps using your riches as a crutch.
Give to the poor.
Lay your life down.
Come to me with lack.
Come to me with nothing.
This is how you follow me.
Total reliance on me for your salvation and eternal life.
The response of the man was that the earthly actually mattered more than the heavenly and Jesus knew it.
It is hard for those who have it all because they have no lack, no desperate need, no longing. They are full.
If only the ruler had been like the little children!
When we come before Jesus it is what is not in our hands that is important. We cannot carry our qualifications, titles or our achievements. They are as Isaiah says ‘filthy rags’.
We come with nothing, with lack, with the vulnerable need to be with Him.