As I have been going through this Beth Moore, Jesus the One and Only study, the Lord has been practically shouting at me. He is over and over again with love and wisdom sharing with me Himself, to fix my eyes on Him, to look for Him – He is coming. And He is.
Today when I opened the study, wide-eyed at a little before 6AM (good thing, too, because tiny toes followed me down at 6:15) I entered into the familiar story of the rich young ruler.
I read through the Luke account and through the Mark account. Did you know that some commentators think that this man may have been Mark, because of the language that he writes — Mark includes that the rich young ruler ran up and knelt before Jesus and Mark mentions that Jesus looked on the rich young ruler in love. (Luke does not include either of these tidbits.) I think that’s precious insight because it means that eventually the rich young ruler may have surrendered his life to the real Lord.
Whether or not this man was flattering Jesus or immediately did recognize that yes, he had been around a lot of important figure heads, but this man, Jesus, was different… and whether or not the man was in fact Mark (which again, I just think would be wonderful), this morning the Lord revealed to my heart a good bit about myself.
This morning, when I read through this account, real-life, not a parable, it reminded me once more how money, something to be secondary, something to serve, something to steward, so often bubbles to the surface our heart’s issues. When money is tight we worry. Wringing our hands, we pray and we plan; we try to control. When money is in abundance we are self-indulgent. Holding open our pocket books, we independently decide where next we should spend some more.
And this man, known as ‘rich’ and ‘young’ (he was probably handsome, too,…) comes to Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life.
He asks how to inherit it — Maybe he was a trust-fund baby. Maybe he had inherited everything else – title, money, looks, and he this was the final (and because he knew better, the best) inheritance, he could acquire.
I am not sure, you can’t be, but perhaps there was a little arrogance here. He’s young after all, and rich and handsome like we are supposing, and he may feel even a bit invincible. Maybe even like he has it all together.
Which is why I think the Lord says to the disciples and all the other people standing around watching and listening in as the young man walks away, that it’s harder for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God than a camel go through the eye of a needle. Difficult… but like Jesus says only a couple of statements later, not impossible, for nothing is impossible with God.
Praise the Lord….
Because if you’re anything like me, and golly you’re probably not in this way, but just in case, you tend to think something like… well, I’m not as rich as he is. Compared to that guy, I’m not rich at all.
And instead of really focusing on his money, which is a little bit uncharacteristic of Jesus, because along with hell, money was one of his most-taught through topics in His earthly ministry, Jesus calls the guy out on calling Him ‘good.’ And Jesus takes the ruler through the commandments…
Which, this is why I think it may have felt a bit invincible, says, yes sir, I have kept all of those since I was a little boy.
But then we read that the people listening on to Jesus say something after the man walked away, sad, because he realizes that his money, his love for his money, his god, stands in his way of getting the one thing he came asking about – salvation and eternal life.
The listeners say, “Then who can be saved?”
This morning this struck me like never before, because, I saw for the first time, that this man really did have it all –
And the people listening realize, if for this guy, who has it all, it is difficult to be saved, then what about us?
who are without a title or any status.
who are old and ugly.
who have no money.
and who are without morals, and with a whole bunch of sin.
What about us?
And hearing their hearts, and knowing in His heart who He was and all that He came to accomplish, Jesus replied to them, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
It is impossible for anyone of us – celebrity Cynthia or nobody Nellie – moral Milly or sinful Sally – rich Rosie or broke Betty – gorgeous Gloria or plain Jane – to be saved apart from the Lord.
I laughed when I read this because, in wide eyed chagrin, I realize I have often looked at this story in such a silly way. I was the one thinking – well good thing I am not as rich as that dude (though, guess what, I am pretty rich, I know… computer… electricity… just to name a couple of indicators…(feeling sillier and sillier)) It’s not – ‘well, I’m not as rich as she is, so it’s easier for me to be saved, to get into heaven.’ No, no, silly girl, it’s grace, God’s grace, only God’s great grace that anyone, especially me, would be saved.
Jesus is Lord. We are not. Jesus is Savior. None of our stuff, status, or bank statements can save.
Instead of walking away sad, or praying the Lord keep us poor, let’s pray, “Lord make me yours and have your way in me and with whatever I have.” Let’s embrace Jesus, give it all for Him, and let Him fill our arms with Himself, our true Treasure, ten thousand charms, more than we can ask for or imagine, eternal life replete with love and mercy and rich, amazing grace. And as we are in Christ, let’s remember our inheritance is sure, steadfast, eternal; the trustworthy God, ours, forever…
Praising God from whom all blessings flow.