As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said. “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, Mark 10:17-31
Mark says that the disciples were astounded at what Jesus taught; one translation used the word “perplexed”. If a rich man didn’t have enough to give up so God would be happy enough to accept him, what chance did anyone stand?
The so-called “prosperity gospel” is like that; you think you’ve got all the right verses lined up to build a life’s system….cast your bread – it comes back; seed this, anoint that, speak the right words…and presto….instant wealth, health and happiness!
Then comes the side-order of persecution or family trouble, job loss – and what do you do with something that doesn’t fit all your prosperity thinking? Your success formula has been wadded-up like a bad poem and tossed in life’s garbage can. What now?
This is what the rich man felt when he turned away from Jesus. By all outward appearances he had it right – wealth was a sign of God’s approval in that culture. He had the wife, 2 kids, dog and white picket fence. He was a good man who had kept the commandments diligently, and yet there was something nagging on the inside – what had he left out?
This is why he came to Jesus to ask. And that nagging feeling didn’t mislead him; he was asking all the right questions – what do I lack?
The problem was that Jesus gave him a simple answer that hit the center of his life, a life which had been built around his riches…and he just couldn’t handle the question.
P.S. – neither can you!
That’s why Jesus said we should get in HIS yoke – saddle up with Him; He is the one who can handle our questions, doubts, fears and camels that don’t fit through needles.
That question – what do I lack – go on and ask it. He’ll carry you through the answer.