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. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’ ”
“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.
Attitude indicates this man acknowledged Jesus to have possession of an understanding of the things of God. The question and the posture of respect show this. They also show what has importance to him. He did not seek to follow Christ, he sought for a way to prolong his present existence. He had possessions, now he was seeking a way to keep them. Jesus saw the heart of the man and revealed the individual’s true nature through his response. This one was capable of following the ritual, legalistic requirements of the law, but self ambition ruled in his life. He could not give his heart…that would require giving all he had acquired and sought to keep forever. That would change the direction of his heart and being from self to God and others. “Go and sell all your possessions …Give up the focus on self, its ambitions, temporary acquisitions. …give the money to the poor, … Serve, an attitude of humility. Then come, follow me.”…Focus on the Lord, His word, learn and receive from Him.
Take away; upon reflection where do we find our true nature to be, what has our heart? Do possessions rule, do we cling to the temporary existence of this life? Jesus asked that man to give up temporary for permanent. Give up the things of this life to follow Him to the next. That involves giving up self ambition to be replaced with God-ambition. That involves recognizing who God is and what He does. We cannot manipulate God. That involves recognizing who we are in relation to Him. If we accept the challenge Jesus gave this man and let go of our grasp on the temporary to take hold of the permanent, we will then begin to really understand what life is, a life that continues…and we will follow Him. At that point we begin to understand who we are and find what we can do through Him. At that point the Word of God becomes active and alive within and through us. We leave the focus on self behind and turn our focus outward toward God and others.