Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? (Mark 10:17)
One day a man flings himself on his knees before Jesus. He desperately asks Jesus for guidance. There are few questions as important as the one he asks: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17)
Jesus tells him to follow the commandments. The man quickly responds that he has already been doing so, but something is still missing. Jesus then says, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
How did the man respond? He was “shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.”
The man chose his possessions over Jesus. His stuff mattered more than eternal life. He grieved because he didn’t want to give away his things to follow Jesus. In order to follow Jesus, you need to travel light.
Jesus constantly talked about money and possessions because He knew we can be tempted to worship what we have. He also knew that when we give our best efforts to earning and accumulating, we can put our souls and relationships at risk. What we do with our money and possessions are spiritual issues.
These are difficult times. Many are worried about their jobs, homes, retirements, and commitments. Many are struggling with many questions for the future. How can I survive? Take care of my family? Be secure? Will I have to work until I die? Will I need to downsize?
If you are asking these hard questions, I encourage you to not act like the rich man in today’s story. Please don’t choose your things over following Jesus. Although following Jesus might not entail giving everything away, it does entail remembering that our following Him is more important than all of our things.
If only the man in the story had left his things behind to follow Jesus. If he had done so, he would have been given the answer to his question.
How do we inherit eternal life? We do so by following Jesus. He’s our final security, not our stuff. When we follow Jesus, we discover that eternal life doesn’t begin on the other side of the grave but on this side.
- Why do you think that the man chose his things over following Jesus?
- Do you identify with the man who chose his things over following Jesus? If so, how?
- How do you sort out your desire for eternal life with Jesus and your desire for the good things in this life?