Matt 19:20-22: “The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?"21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
A young man came to Jesus and asked, “What may I do to have eternal life?” This is the question that everyone should be asking him or herself one time or another. This is the question that demands an answer because the answer will determine what happens to us when we die. This young man was wise in the fact that he knew who to approach in order to ask this question. Jesus was the one with the answer. His authority was seen by the religious of the day, and they viewed Him as a threat because of His power. After Jesus questioned him about being obedient to God’s laws the young man still knew there was something missing. Wealth and material possessions did not fulfill the need that was in his heart; in fact it was the thing that was making him miserable.
This reminds me of today where we go through this world seeking and desiring to fill this need in our hearts. We often pursue after money, working so much that we neglect our families. We hunt after other things to fulfill our lusts and passions, such as sex, sports, and busyness. Some even have children to fill that deep longing and emptiness that consumes them. This young man had followed the laws of God; however, no amount of being a good person will fill his (or our) greatest needs. He asked, “What else do I lack?” Jesus said sell all you have (that very thing you are holding on to for security is only making you more miserable, it is a beast that cannot be satisfied). Then Jesus told him the very thing that he needed was to follow Jesus. That is what He tells us everyday, “Follow me”. That is the answer to the question of the ages, “What must I do to have eternal life?”
Are you journeying through this world craving and seeking fulfillment? We hear stories everyday about how the wealthy and powerful lose their peace and crack under the pressures of this world. The reason is that they are pursuing things they were never meant to fulfill you as a person. Money, drugs, sex, power, and fame have never made true joy or peace in a person’s heart. It is when we surrender ourselves and stop pursuing other things, and trust in the peace that only comes from Jesus, that we will truly experience the Christian dream instead of the American Dream.
This rich, young, “successful” man chose not to follow Jesus and he went away sorrowful. Even though his material possessions did not bring peace in his life, he still rejected Jesus’ offer. What about you today; what are you trying to cram into your life to fill those needs you have? We each have an opportunity to respond to Jesus’ offer. What will be you answer be? Will you choose to follow Him or not?
Old Testament: Exod. 19-21 New Testament Matt 20:1-16