His name was Justin. He was twenty-seven years old, very wealthy and possessed everything you can imagine! No, he did not have to rely on credit to buy whatever it is he wanted, like most people do these days. He had the means to pay it! He did not need to keep up with the Jones, instead, the Jones had to keep up with him. How did he acquire such wealth you ask? I am glad you ask the question! I think it was an inheritance but he added much more to it by his commitment to increase it!
He was smart, hard worker, good-looking, and of good character! He was raised by very religious parents who taught him moral behavior. He had done so from his youth by doing good works and never braking any of the great commandments. Hard as it was, he was disciplined to do it all on his own! Often he felt as if on top of the world!
He had become the ruler of the land and as good as it felt to be empowered, he still felt a need for more. When in such position, what else can you ask for? all the good that earth can provide he was enjoying. He was aware of another life that was eternal but did not know how it was acquired. He had heard of a man named Jesus who was claiming to know more about it and he went to pay Him a visit.
He said to Him: “Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him: “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone!” Jesus knew Justin’s heart, his self-reliance and erroneous thinking. In his life, there was no capacity to decipher what was good or not for he had a different lord or master. The master of money.
Knowing him, Jesus said: “You know the commandments: do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.” Justin was proud to answer and said to Jesus: “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
Jesus having compassion for him explained what needed to be done in his life. To get rid of the handicap that would prevent him from obtaining eternal life in glory and not in punishment, He said to him: ” There is one thing you are lacking, sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven and come follow me.”
After hearing this, Justin became very sad and went away. There was no way he would get rid of all he possessed! He wasn’t going to humble himself to such degree! To be this vulnerable and obey? To get rid of his mansions, his cars, his expensive vacations, his designer clothing, the popularity that came with it? He couldn’t! These things were part of him! This is who he was!
To follow Jesus was not a choice he could make. May be Jesus would teach him a thing or two but not at the consequence of getting rid of his possessions. To hang out with Jesus! Ha! Jesus had nothing! He could not understand how someone like Him made it in the world. Good for Jesus but not for him!
Jesus sighed and said to the disciples: “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God!
Those who were there said to Him “then who can be saved?” Jesus answered “ The things that are impossible with people are possible with God” Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed you”
He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come eternal life”
He took the disciples aside and explained how the scriptures were about to be fulfilled in His life and how He was to rise again. The disciples did not comprehend the meaning of it at that time.
How hard it is to not only think about the problem of the rich ruler but the problem of leaving anything for the sake of the Gospel! The question I have to ask myself is who is my Lord, my Master? Is my master my job, my spouse, my children, my money, my car, my body and good looks, my good reputation, my home, my fears, video games, anxieties, my career, my motorcycle, my money?
There are so many things we can have in the seat of God. Justin’s God was the money and Jesus knew that his focus was reversed. This is why he asked him to get rid of it. He trusted and obeyed the created instead of the Creator. He was unwilling to obey Jesus for he loved money more than he loved God.
I may have the same behavior toward anything created. My main focus and self-worth may also be in the wrong places. Jesus may be asking me to get rid of those idols and to focus and follow Him. On some occasions it may be a physical act but leaving those idols that take the place of God is not always a physical act but a Spiritual choice as well.
Our answer key should be that above all I should love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my mind and with all my soul and love my neighbor as myself. Guess what my friend? When I exercise this most important commandment, I am doing what Jesus is asking me to do, which is to make Him and seat Him in the throne of my life. To make Him my Lord and to follow Him and leave everything behind!