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.
Here was a lost man come to Jesus with a question and a need, but Jesus did not look upon him with condemnation or scorn. Here was a sinner who needed to be saved, and Jesus did not respond to Him with harsh judgment and unkindness. Here was a young man who Jesus knew would reject Him, but when He saw him, He loved him. And He looks upon each of us with that same love. And even knowing as He did the heart of the rich young ruler, Jesus didn’t respond with some snide comment, but He simply told him the truth.
Jesus wants us with Him where He is, but to be there with Him, we have to be willing to go as He goes. Even with that heart of love for us, Jesus can’t promise us an easy path, but one with a cross to bear. Even though His gift of salvation is free for us to take, that doesn’t mean it won’t cost us something. Even though we gain so much through our relationship with Him, we still may have to leave something important behind us in order to follow Him completely.
If we’re going to follow Jesus, we don’t get to follow Him on our own terms, but we have to follow the course He would set for us. We have to do things His way. And in the midst of that, we have to remember that love is the reason. That love sent Him to the cross to die for us. And perhaps if that young man had just the smallest inkling of the sacrifice that Jesus would make for him, he would have seen that the sacrifice Jesus was asking him to make was so small in comparison.
How will we respond to the love that Jesus has for each of us personally? Will we gladly do as He asks, or will we disobey? Will we be willing to follow whatever path He lays out for us, or have we decided we’d rather go our own way? Have we accepted His offer for salvation and the amazing opportunity to have a lifelong relationship with Him, or have we sadly gone back to our old life without Him? Jesus loves us more than we can imagine. He loves us as we are when we come to Him. And He would love for us to take up our cross and follow Him wherever He would lead.