A man approached him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There’s only one who is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.” The man said, “Which ones?” Then Jesus said, “Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The young man replied, “I’ve kept all these. What am I still missing?” Jesus said, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away saddened, because he had many possessions (Matthew 19:16-22, Common English Bible).
“Follow the commandments,” said Jesus. “I’ve done that,” said the rich young man. “Then go, sell all your stuff, give the money to the poor, and come and follow me,” said Jesus, effectively ending to conversation. The man left, sad, because he couldn’t give up his stuff.
I fear many of us would respond in such a way. I have told you before I love my guitars. I would like to think I could give them up. But, I know myself well enough to know, it wouldn’t be easy.
So why did Jesus give this guy these instructions. Wouldn’t it have made sense to have at least one guy with money and stuff? Everybody in the group lacked worldly wealth. It seems to me that it would be smart to have someone who could financially support the group.
Jesus wasn’t looking for financial support. That is something we would do. What Jesus was looking for was (and is) faithfulness. And, Jesus knows all too well the barriers that keep us from real faithfulness.
Always remember this too, God knows us better than we know ourselves. Jesus knew the importance this guy placed on all his stuff. Jesus knew that it would be a barrier to his faith and his relationship with Jesus.
When he called Andrew, Simon, James and John he didn’t give them instructions like that. There are two reasons for that, I think. First, those first four disciples were fishermen. They didn’t have much, their boats and nets but that would be about it. And, the second reason, what they had, they left behind when they followed Jesus. The barriers for the twelve would be in other places. Jesus knew for the rich young man that the barriers would be his worldly goods.
Be it guitars or cars or money or any other number of things, our stuff has to take a backseat to our relationship with God. Jesus doesn’t want to take a backseat, not even to a person. I think it is very safe to say he isn’t interested in taking a back seat to our stuff.
Another of those James Moore titles I have talked about lately is, If God is Your Co-Pilot, Change Seats. God even has to be first when it comes to our own lives. Nothing else is going to work. That was what Jesus was trying to say to the rich young man.
What are the things you need to move to the back to make room for Jesus in the pilot’s seat?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J, Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved