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.
Imagine if this man didn’t go away sad, but instead went away to do as Jesus said. What if he had gone about town making a real difference for the poor and needy all around him? What if he was able to do something good with all those possessions he had instead of just keeping them for himself? What if he, though a young ruler, was willing to submit himself to Christ and follow Him all the days of his life? What a sight that would have been. What a blessing he himself would have received. What an opportunity he had to be a disciple of Christ and go with Him on this journey.
But he couldn’t let go of his possessions or his position. And even if we are poor and lowly ourselves, we have the same challenge. We have to surrender all to Jesus no matter how much or how little we have. There can’t be anything in any area of our lives that we are willing to hold back. And we so often bristle at that. We don’t want to let go of anything. But with that first coin handed to a beggar, with that first item sold and used for the good of someone else, we would experience the amazing freedom that comes from not being ruled by what we have, but surrendering to our Master.
The truth is, it’s not a question of how much we have and what portion of it we might be able to spare. It’s not a matter of some arbitrary requirement to give something up. It’s really, as it always is with Jesus, a heart matter. It’s about what we’re willing to surrender to Him. It’s a question of whether we will submit to Him completely or if we’re satisfied with incomplete obedience to Him and what He asks of us. Jesus didn’t ask those poor beggars He encountered to give up all they had for Him because they had nothing to give, but that didn’t disqualify them from following Him. It’s our faith in Him that matters, our trust in Him alone. It’s our love for Him that causes us to leave behind anything else for His sake.
Is there anything that Jesus has asked of us that we’ve been unwilling to do? Is there something He’s asked us to let go of that we’ve clamped on to and refused to surrender? Is there something specific that Jesus has pinpointed in our lives that takes up too big a place in our hearts? Instead of turning our backs on Him or going away sad, maybe we just need to turn back to Him and ask Him to help us let go. Maybe we can ask Him to help us do what we don’t think we can. Maybe we need to evaluate our lives and decide whether we will give Jesus just a portion of who we are and what we have or if we’re willing to truly surrender all.