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?
The young man goes away a lot different than he came. He came eagerly, actually running to Jesus. He even came humbly, kneeling down before Him. He came respectfully, calling Jesus “Good Master,” recognizing His position. He came seeking, wanting answers for his life. But he went away sad because he wasn’t willing to let go of anything. He wasn’t willing to leave behind who he used to be to follow Jesus and become who He wanted him to be. He wanted something from Jesus but didn’t want Jesus Himself, and that just doesn’t work.
He probably didn’t run home, but left sad and grieving, as if there was no hope for him, when Jesus had just offered him the greatest opportunity ever—to follow Him. And maybe, sadly, he never sought Jesus again because he wanted Jesus to do something for him but he wasn’t willing to do anything for Jesus. He wanted to receive the inheritance without being part of the family.
And isn’t that sometimes the case where we come asking for things from Jesus, but He just wants us to let go of those things we’re so worried about and walk with Him. He wants to be the object of our affection, what we’re seeking so diligently to have and hold. And though He gives us those precious gifts upon our salvation of eternal life and a home in heaven and a multitude of other blessings in our lives, isn’t the most precious part of it all that we can simply walk with Jesus all our days? Is that good enough for us that we can have Him first of all and then those other things added on?
Eternal life is not a prize to be gained. It’s not even the most important thing that we can possess. It’s not the end goal of life, even if it is what we will end up with. Knowing Jesus is the prize. Having fellowship with our Savior is the delight. Following along as a disciple of Jesus Christ is the highest calling we can have, and it’s just that those other things come with it because He loves us so much and delights to give them to us. May it be enough for us to simply walk with Jesus, whatever that journey entails. May we pursue Him, not just what He will give us. And may we continually seek Him and simply be willing to know Him, love Him and serve Him all our days.