Baby You’re a Rich Man Too! Mark 10:17 begins an interesting story. A young man runs up to Jesus, drops to his knees, and asks how to gain eternal life. This sounds quite humbling, even desperate. Jesus almost seems to toy with him a bit. Being addressed as “Good teacher,” Jesus says “Why do you call me good, no-one is good but God. “ Jesus then briefly recounts 5 of the 10 commandments, ones dealing with interpersonal relationships, to which the man declares “I have kept them.” In essence, “What more can I do?” (Note the underscore I.) I can see Jesus grin lovingly. Verse 12 says “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” He is about to make clear that our measure of “goodness” is not the key to the kingdom. He bids the man to sell his “stuff” and give it to the poor.
Whether this was an acid test or not, only Jesus knows, but it broke the man’s heart because the loss of his earthly goods was too costly a price to inherit the kingdom. Usually Jesus challenged people to” believe” in Him, to put their “trust” in Him, or to have “faith” in Him, not just give up their worldly stuff. He usually set folks on a course where their lifestyle would follow their beliefs, where their actions based upon their faith would follow. Interesting. Jesus wanted this man to demonstrate that he really wanted eternal life badly enough that he would do something to prove his seriousness. We can only speculate what Jesus would have said had the man agreed to immediately liquidate. We see a sad man and a sad Jesus because this rich man did not adequately value what following Jesus and possessing eternal life meant. Do we miss something here too?
Jesus doesn’t offer a “blue light special” discount to befriend and follow Him. What Jesus offered was costly to Himself. What we gain commands sacrifice from us. Jesus point is we can’t trust in riches. Riches, no matter what your measure, hold us back. They make attaining salvation complicated and they disrupt our following Christ with abandon. Jesus may not ask us all to give everything away, but I do sense He encourages us to hold our stuff and our lives before Him with open, uplifted hands. Are we? You may be a rich man too, but rich in what? Think About It.