A Sobering Story (Mark 10:21–22) - Radical

A Sobering Story (Mark 10:21–22)

And 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.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
(Mark 10:21–22)

Oh, there’s so much here that leads us to pray but I want to focus on the very beginning and the very end and leading us to pray.

So in the very beginning, so Jesus is having this conversation with this rich man and this rich man is saying, “I want eternal life.” Jesus has this conversation with him and in verse 21, it says, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” So right before he tells this man, “Sell all that you have and give to the poor and come follow me,” he’s basically repeating what we see over and over and over again in the gospels. This is not a rare occurrence. If you want to follow me, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Deny himself. Take up a cross. Die to yourself/ die to the pursuits and pleasures and possessions of this world and follow me wherever, however I lead.

May it not be said of us that we went away sorrowful because we chose to hold onto our ways rather than Yours, O Lord.

Now, that’s that can sound hard, even harsh, like Jesus is going right for the jugular in this rich man’s life. But see what it’s driven by. Jesus, looking at him, loved him. Like Jesus calls us to let go of our possessions, to die to ourselves, to deny ourselves. Why? Because he wants that which is not good for us? Because he wants to make us miserable? No. Because he loves us. Jesus loves us so much that he beckons us to lose our lives in order that we might find our lives. We might let go of that which we hold on to in order that we might experience something so much greater.

Jesus is not even calling this guy to not seek treasure. He’s saying, “I’m giving you treasure like you don’t even know. You don’t even realize how awesome what I am calling you to is.”

So we see this picture in Mark 10:21, that Jesus loves us enough to beckon us, to lay down our lives and all that we have to follow him and what’s so sobering is when verse 22 says, “Disheartened by the same, he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions.” That’s got to be one of the most sober, sad verses in all of Mark’s gospel. For here is a man who held on to the things this world offers and missed all that Jesus gives.

God, we pray it would not be so. We pray that you would help us to see your love for us and your commands to die to ourselves. To deny ourselves. To surrender our possessions. And even as we pray that, particularly, Oh God, I’m sitting here. I’m assuming most people who are listening to this podcast, we are some of the richest people to ever walk planet earth.

So we pray that you would teach us and help us to know how do we do this? Lord, how do we lay down our possessions? God, use us for the sake of the poor. We pray this. That’s like crystal clear in verse 21. Help us to love and care for the poor with our possessions. Not just here. It’s all over your word. So help us to do this and help us not to see this as a burden or to be in any way even hesitant to do this. Help us to see your love for us and to gladly lay down our lives, die to ourselves, surrender possessions, that we might follow you. That we might experience you. That we might experience your treasure that will never, ever fade away.

May it not be said of us that we went away from you sorrowful because we chose to hold on to what we think is better than you. Because we chose to hold on to our ways and what we want to do with our possessions instead of what you call us to do with our possessions.

Oh Jesus, we praise you for your love for us and we pray, maybe this, God, most of all. We pray that you’d help us. I pray this in my own heart. Just over every single person who’s listening right now, you would help us to trust your love for us in your commands to us.

In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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