Mark 10:17-22, "And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions."
If that were true, everyone who had great possessions would have the same problem. However, we know of men having wealth, such as Abraham and Job, who were pleasing to God. Therefore, we must conclude that possessions themselves are not the problem. So what was the real problem?
Luke 12:34 and Matthew 6:21 both tell us that, "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." His heart was with his possessions instead of with God. Though he had kept the commandments, he loved his possessions more than he loved God.
In Mark 12:29-31 Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:4-5 in telling us the first of all the commandments, "Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." He did not love God with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength. He loved his possessions more.
To inherit eternal life, he lacked one thing and was unwilling to do what was needed. His heart was unable to let go of his possessions and take hold of God. He went away sad.
Do we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength or do we have something we treasure more than God?
Are temporary things more important to us than eternal things?
Lust for material things?
Do we hunger more for the material than for the spiritual?
Do we think we don't need to be saved?
Are we too stubborn to be saved?
...preventing us from
hearing God's Word as we need?
...preventing us from believing that Jesus is the Christ, our savior, a sacrifice made for us?
...getting in the way of our repenting from sin? From turning our heart and mind towards God?
...stopping our mouth from confessing Christ before men? Do they cause us to be silent?
If they have, we can still change our minds and change our hearts.
Romans 15:4 tells us that, "whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."
Let's not be just good people, but those who have inherited eternal life through an obedient love for God.
We each need to decide for ourselves. When we face judgment, let's not hear, "one thing thou lackest".
Please let us know if we can help in any way.
-- Zachary Van Tassel, March 2004 --