A rich young ruler came to Jesus one day and asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life (Luke 18:18-24; Matthew 19:16-22; Mark 10:22). He wanted the same thing as you and I. He wanted to spend eternity with Jesus rather than the “other” option. Jesus told him he needed to “keep the commandments”. The young man replied that he had kept them from his youth. The Bible says that Jesus loved the man. But he went on to say that he lacked one thing. He needed to sell all he had, give it to the poor and follow Jesus. The man was in a great place. Jesus had told him exactly what he needed to do, apparently called him to be a disciple and loved him.
There is nothing better than being in the will of God. I didn’t say it would be easier or simpler. Doing the will of God is hard work and sacrificial. It’s not just walking through open doors. Sometimes it’s being stoned, beaten, mocked, ship wrecked or cast out. The apostle Paul, some of the Pentecostal pioneers and some of our missionaries can explain it better. It’s denying the flesh and walking in the Spirit.
Let’s face it, this young man had a good (worldly) life. He had money, security, material goods. He probably had friends and a set routine for his life. When you don’t have to worry about food or clothes, you can focus on organizing and bettering your life. When he found out that he had to give all that up, it caused sorrow. He went away sorrowful.
What was the problem? Very simply…the young man didn’t want to CHANGE! He didn’t want to change his routine, status, security, lifestyle, etc. What ever it was, it was decided that it wasn’t going to change. Not willing to change caused this young man a relationship. One that is better than money could have bought.
This story is not given to us so we can judge the rich young ruler. It is rather instruction. It lets us know that change is what we need sometimes to keep going forward in Jesus. I want to change whatever I need to keep my relationship with Jesus! That should be the desire of the church! Let me make that clearer. That is the desire of the church!