This verse describes a conversation between Jesus and a rich young man.
“Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, ‘You lack one thing. Go sell all that you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.'”
Wow. There is so much in this verse. We could talk about, we could pray, according to… I want to point out just two things. One, don’t miss the love of Jesus for this rich young man. We read this and we think, “What a call to sacrifice.” Sell everything you have and give to the poor, but notice what it says right before that, “Jesus, looking at him, loved him,” and then he said this to him.
Jesus loves us so much that He doesn’t let us live for the possessions of this world. Do we believe that Jesus is worthy of being treasured more than the possessions of this world?
Jesus doesn’t call us to let go of possessions because he hates us, because he wants us to be miserable. Jesus doesn’t call us to care for the poor because he hates us, because he wants us to be miserable. Don’t miss the whole point here. This is all driven by Jesus’ love. Jesus loves us so much that he doesn’t let us live for the possessions of this world. Jesus loves us so much that he calls us to give to those who are in need.
This is a picture of his love for us, so do we believe that? Do we believe his love for us. When we hear commands, calls in the Gospel to share your possessions, to give away your possessions, to sell your possessions, do we hear the love of Jesus behind those? Jesus loved this young man. He knew that if this young man held onto his possessions, he would miss the point of his life on earth and he would miss eternal life.
In fact, that’s exactly what happened in verse 22 he was disheartened by what Jesus said and he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions. What a picture. Don’t let that be the story of my life, God. Don’t let that be the story of your life as you’re listening to this, that you walked away from Jesus’ what seemed like hard commands, when the reality is his commands were driven by grace and love.
And then, see the promise here. Sell all you have, give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Jesus is not calling this man to forsake treasure, to leave behind treasure. Jesus is calling this man to live for treasure, like for real treasure, for treasure that’s going to last forever. Jesus wants us to have treasure, but it’s not the treasure this world offers. He gives us something so much better.
So God help us. We need a totally new way of thinking when it comes to possessions. We are, I confess I am, we are materialistic people. We’ve been given so much by your grace, and yet we are so tempted to hold so tightly to it, to live for it, to get more and newer and nicer and better and bigger. God, help us, help us, help us to let go of that pursuit, to let go of possessions, to give to the poor, to give generously and cheerfully and sacrificially to the poor, and in this to experience your love, what you know is better for our lives, and in this to live for treasure that matters forever, for treasure that will last forever.
God, don’t let us waste our lives. Don’t let me, don’t let us waste our lives on short-term treasures that we cannot keep. Help us to live for long-term treasure that we will never ever lose. Oh God, please help us to trust you when you speak even what seemed like a hard commands to us, to Trust your love behind them, and to trust your promises to us in them for our good, for your glory. God, we pray this. We need your help in this. In Jesus name, amen.
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