Why do you want to be saved or would you want a friend or family member to be saved? I would think a big part of that answer is heaven. We want to go to heaven, and not hell. We want our eternal destiny to be headed in the right place, don’t we? So, how would you answer a friend’s question if they asked, “What do I have to do to go to heaven?” or “to get eternal life?” They need to be saved, right? They need to see their sin and repent from it. Isn’t that what we learned the disciples went out and preached a few days ago?
If this is the case (and we read in the Scripture it is) then why isn’t that the answer Jesus gave to a young man when he asked what he had to do to inherit eternal life? Do you remember the story? Jesus answer is above. He doesn’t say repent, he tells him to sell all he owns. This is not a parable either-this was real person, who was really rich. Why do you think Jesus answered this way?
Let’s look at the text. First, it says Jesus loved him. So, we know Jesus was not just trying to be mean. He loved him. He wanted to answer him honestly and I suspect, because Jesus clearly knew this man’s heart.
Second, He knew and saw the biggest stumbling block to this man’s salvation. It was the tight hold on money, and his unwillingness to give it up that prevented him from following Jesus. Somehow it prevented him from seeing his sin, repenting from it and being willing to give it up. In fact, this Scripture has been twisted to say that living the life of a monk (no possessions, no riches) will gain us eternal life, but we know from the whole counsel of Scripture that is not true. The point is, money was a snare to the point of choking out salvation for this man. It had that tight of a grip on him.
We don’t have to be millionaires to have a similar problem. It may not be money that chokes us or is our barrier to following Jesus, but there is always something. Something that is hard for us to let go, hard for us to give up, maybe hard for us to give to others and let them have instead of us. It might not be money, it might be being “right” all the time, it might be “giving our opinion” (I know this is one of my weak areas!), it might be success, it could even be sleep! It is something that prevents us or hinders us from following Christ, and by following Him, I mean obeying him. Being his servant. Loving him through obedience above all else.
As believers, we have already secured eternal life. The question this young man posed has been answered, and we already made the choice that determines our eternity. We have repented and opted for Christ and to follow Him. I believe the question we are challenged with today is, what are we still not willing to give up? What is hindering us from running after Jesus on a daily basis? It is a good question to ask and a good thing to pray about each day.