The Rich Young Ruler
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One of the most poignant stories in the Bible to me is the story of the rich young ruler. This impressive young man had made many “right” choices in his life and he was obviously from a successful, affluent family. I imagine he was admired and highly respected as a young man of both character and position. He realized that his wealth and influence came with responsibility and he seemed to embrace that.
And yet, something was still missing… despite all that he was and had, he inherently knew that he needed to be saved. His stuff wasn’t enough! He also recognized that there was something extraordinary about the authority and teachings of Jesus. In the gospel of Mark it says he RAN to Jesus – and then, this wealthy, influential man KNELT DOWN and humbly asked the simple sandal-shoed carpenter, “What must I do to have eternal life?” That’s quite a picture, isn’t it? Jesus saw the young man’s desire to measure up to the mark. He saw his hunger to hear from a man he considered a great teacher. He saw his willingness to do the right thing.
Jesus said, “You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not testify falsely. Do not cheat, honor your father and mother.”
“Teacher, I have obeyed all these laws since I was a child.”
Before Jesus responded to the rich young ruler, the Bible says He looked at him and He felt great love for him. Then Jesus said, “You lack only one thing—go and sell all you have and give your money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow Me.” The Bible says the man’s face fell and he went sadly away because he had many possessions (see).
What was that conversation all about? Jesus was extending an invitation to this man to embark on a “God-adventure” with Him. It was up to the man to choose what he would do. As much as he loved God, as much as he obeyed the law, he was entangled in and limited by his possessions. Jesus wanted to give him a new identity—a new name. He was inviting him to come along with Him into a life of walking in God’s plans and God’s purposes where God leads and supplies all that is needed. That’s an exciting invitation but a frightening one. It’s an invitation that is extended to every true believer. You see, God isn’t just out to touch our hearts and forgive our sins. He wants to CHANGE us. Then He wants to USE us. The more we are willing to be changed, the more He is able to use us. I wonder what might have happened if the rich young ruler had said “yes.” I wonder how many times he asked himself that question over the years.
What about you? You are created for God-adventures, you know. Don’t settle for a mediocre life because it is safe and predictable. The King of the Universe is inviting you to walk with Him. You have to let go of everything else so you can hold on to Him. Don’t miss out on His purposes for you. Say “yes!” and grab hold.
Excerpted with permission from The God Adventure, by Terry Meeuwsen © 2005
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