READING: Exodus 11-13:16, Matthew 19:1-22
I cannot imagine what he must have felt like. Or, maybe I can, if I’m honest . . .
The young man came to Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. Apparently, something made him think about the world beyond this one, and it concerned him enough to approach Jesus. Maybe it was the death of a friend or a loved one. Perhaps it was a personal illness. Maybe it was a dream that made him think about eternity. Whatever it was, he seemingly wanted to settle the issue.
In the midst of His conversation with the young man, Jesus cut through his religious self-righteousness and centered on the real issue for him: “Go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Matt. 19:21). We can only assume based on Jesus’ command and the man’s response that his possessions had become his god – and Jesus would not permit him to follow Him unless his commitment was complete and full.
Indeed, the text tells us that the young man “went away grieving, because he had many possessions” (Matt. 19:22). He wanted eternal life, but the cost Jesus demanded was just too high to pay. His temporary earthly possessions were apparently more important to him than anything; if he gained eternal life, he wanted it on his terms and without his sacrifice. Jesus would have no part of that arrangement.
Even as disciples of Jesus, we sometimes want to gain God’s blessings while simultaneously clinging to our earthly “stuff” and dreams – and we know better, so our heart grieves our own idolatries that still haunt us. May God help us to let go of anything that hinders our being fully committed to Jesus.
PRAYER: “Lord, show me my idols, and give me faith and courage to let them go for Your sake.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Exodus 13:17-15:27, Matthew 19:23-20:16