He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (v. 22)
The rich young ruler was a man who wanted to follow Christ but wasn’t willing to surrender his possessions in order to do so. In the end, turning his back on Christ was easier than parting with his wealth.
Possessions cause a struggle for many people. Jesus knew they would, which is why he talked so much about money and material goods. He knew that wealth and possessions easily become our biggest idols. He understood that they are things not easily surrendered. It is for this very reason that he calls us to give them up in order to follow him.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus spoke plainly about the love of money. He declared, “you cannot serve God and money.” That is not a command; it’s a simple statement of fact. Loving money makes us a slave to it. Money becomes our “master.” If that’s the case, then we cannot serve him, since no one can serve two masters.
This is why the surrender of possessions is necessary. How important are your possessions to you? Do they mean so much to you that you’d sooner turn your back on God than surrender your wealth, as the rich young man did?
Jesus reminds us that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Aim to be filled with his abundance, rather than the earth’s.
Prayer: Lord, make us willing to surrender to you our treasures here on earth.
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