“What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” – Jesus
Listen to my song “Pour Me Out” on YouTube by clicking HERE.
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
This passage is titled: The Rich Young Man.
He begins his exchange with Jesus by asking, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life? (Matthew 19:16)”
This young man is already indoctrinated in the system of achieving status.
Rich in possessions, he is fully invested in the worthiness game.
He wants to know what amount of “good” he must accomplish to merit “eternal life.”
This is quite the opposite of what Jesus teaches about eternal life.
For Jesus, the kingdom of heaven begins now for those who love God and their neighbor as themselves.
To love another requires letting go of your egocentric desires that only want to satisfy self.
This pathway into heaven is offered free of charge!
It is God’s gift of grace to everyone.
You can’t merit such a profound gift.
Jesus, knowing full well that this young man is attached to his many possessions, tells him he must give them away and then follow him.
The man is unable to do this and so goes away sad.
The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell this story, but I especially like Mark’s rendition.
In that version, before Jesus tells the man how he must give away his possessions, it says Jesus looked at him and loved him.
Jesus identified the one thing standing in the way of this man truly having eternal life now.
This is not condemnation but loving advice on how the young man can free himself of that which is preventing him from being his true self.
This is also not the end of the story for this man as he may have eventually let go of his attachment to wealth and may have even done so without selling his possessions!
Jesus’s message is specifically for this young man, not necessarily for you.
But it could be for you.
Each of us must ask ourselves: What is the one or more things preventing me from being free to be my true self and to live the gospel?
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Remember: God loves you!