“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?” – Mark 10:17
Prosperity poisons the heart. Once you grasp the true scope of the story of the rich young ruler, you will come to realize that it is one of the saddest stories in the gospels. Here we have a man eager to acknowledge Christ as Lord and savior, willing to confess it with his mouth, even humbled enough to publicly bend the knee to Him and call Him Master. Surely this man both believed and confessed but there was something wrong and God, who tries the hearts of men, saw it.
“And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” – Mark 10:20-21
When Jesus quoted the law to him and reminded him that he must obey it, he replied that he had done so all of his life. The passage states that Jesus loved him, He was moved by this man’s heart and potential and in all honesty in love called out the one thing he had missed. The young man unknowingly was breaking the first and greatest commandment. To love God with ALL your heart and to have “no other God before Him“.. Jesus knew that money was his God and his possessions ruled his heart for he love them more then anything, therefore he could not love God with all his heart when he had already given the thrown of his heart to his positions and possessions.
Herein lies the greatest sadness of this story. Jesus truly loved this man. Seeing this as his only fault, He put forth every effort to expose it to the young man that he might not only see it but repent of it, crucify the flesh, and follow Him. Jesus actually offered for this man to be one of his disciples. Noting that He gave him the same offer that He gave to the twelve. “Take up your cross and follow Me“.
“And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” – Mark 10:22
How sad is that? This man was offered a place in eternity and a place in history as a disciple of Christ, yet he passed it by for the love of the things of the world. He put another love before his love of God, therefore this thing at he loved more became his god. Counting it as gain, he lost everything of true value, for he was almost a disciple of Christ. Except for that one thing he would not let go of, that one thing he would not dethrone from his heart so that He could give his whole heart to Christ.
How many bending the knee and calling on the good Master among the church today are still only “almost disciples of Christ”? Are you among them? If God asked you to give something up to expose your greater love for it then for Him would you humble yourself and dethrone that idol? If He asked you to give up you favorite food, or called you to a lengthy fast, would you obey? If he called you to give up a particular crowd of people or a relationship that is toxic to your faith, would you obey? If He asked you to give up your entertainment to spend time in prayer and in His Word, would you obey? If He asked you to give up a belief, doctrine, denomination, or church to simply follow Him, would you obey? If He asked you to sell all that you had and give it to the poor, would you obey! You see, it wasn’t about the man’s money, it was about his heart and the idol he had throned in it. God is a jealous God, His glory will He not share with another. He requires our whole heart, our entire obedience, our undivided attention, and our un-antiquated love. Examine your heart and give it all to God. Deny every selfish thought and desire, pick up your cross of sacrificial selfless obedience, and follow after Christ. Even as He did, do ye also. Love God first, others second, and crucify self that you might be counted in eternity as one who followed after the ways and teachings of Christ, rather then after the lust of the hearts of men.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” – Matthew 16:26
“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” – Matthew 10:37-38
“I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another,” – Isaiah 42:8
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40