The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Can we see the pride of the rich young ruler and see in him also, perhaps, a little bit of ourselves? He’s basically saying to Jesus, “I’ve met all the conditions. I’m a good person who has followed all the rules. I’ve done everything I could possibly do, so how is it that I do not have eternal life? What else is there?” Are we thinking, like him, that our great riches and possessions should get us something? Are we depending on the things we have done and thinking that should earn us some reward? Do we look at our lives and feel like we have accomplished many good things and so should have favor with God?
If so, we still lack very much, indeed. We lack yet the most important thing, the essential thing, the only thing that can give us eternal life. If we’re trusting in our own goodness and our ability to keep all the commandments, then we’re only fooling ourselves. We’re blind to the truth of who we really are and how far short we will always come to God’s holy standard of perfection. If we feel we have accomplished so much on our own and that God should give us eternal life in exchange for that, we’re failing to see all the bad things we’ve done that would justify our eternal death instead.
The only thing this young man was missing was Jesus Christ. He is the only way to heaven. He is the only one who can give us eternal life. He was the only one who truly kept all the commandments and stood righteous before the Father. So until we’ve emptied our lives of our self-righteousness and the hold of our possessions and those fleshly desires and made room for Jesus, we have absolutely nothing. Until we’ve placed our trust completely in Him and what He’s done and realized there was nothing we could ever do on our own, we have no hope of heaven.
We lack very much when we don’t have Jesus. But when we accept Him as our Savior, we gain so many priceless treasures that more than make up for what we think we might be losing. With Christ, we have forgiveness of sin, peace with God, the hope of heaven, and His love in our hearts. We have His righteousness and access to the Father. We have a relationship with our creator and the God of the universe that can more than satisfy all the longings that we have. So, do we have Jesus, or do we yet lack the most important thing that we need more than anything else?