Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
Sometimes it’s so hard to pry our eyes, our hearts, our minds off of the things we value in life. This young man was not willing to get his eyes off his riches and onto Jesus. He wasn’t willing to stop his pursuit of wealth in order to pursue Jesus and the life He had prepared for him. He wasn’t willing to open his hands and let go of those gold coins in order to take hold of the abundant blessings that Jesus could give him. He had come seeking eternal life but chose death for the sake of those riches. He could have had so much more if he would have been willing to part with something that ultimately held very little value at all.
But what are we holding on to too tightly? What has captured our attention and caused us to take our eyes off of following our Lord, even if only for a little while? What kinds of things in our lives might have stolen our hearts away from Jesus and all that He had prepared for us? It could be that we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior and promised to follow Him but have still gone off after some other pursuit and left Him standing there sorrowful for us and the heavenly treasure we are missing out on.
We can’t let anything hold our hearts more than Jesus, however harmless the object of our affection may seem. The young ruler may have viewed his riches as a blessing from God, a sign of His favor upon his life, but they were a source of stumbling for him, as he was just so unwilling to let go of them. So let us look very closely at our lives and see if there is perhaps some good thing that us holding us back from following God completely, some blessing from His hand that we are trusting in more than Him.
It really is all about our heart. This rich man was not willing to give up his riches for Jesus’ sake. His overpowering desire for them revealed more about his true heart than his claims about keeping the law and his search for eternal life. It’s about how much of our hearts and ourselves and our wants we’re willing to set aside for Christ’s sake. He will give us eternal life. He’s promised to supply our needs. He fills our lives with so much more than we can imagine. But first, we have to let go of everything else and simply follow Him.