18 A ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother.” 21 “I have kept all these from my youth,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he told him, “You still lack one thing: Sell all you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 After he heard this, he became extremely sad, because he was very rich.
I can remember when I was raising my son, especially during his teen years, how I would often test him. I had knowledge of some infraction he had committed that he was not aware I knew about. Sometimes I would pretend to know something when I really didn’t know, which allowed me to question him in a way that would compel him to tell me the truth. Sometimes he passed the test. Sometimes he failed the test.
In our scripture passages today, Jesus is approached by a very wealthy young man who asks Jesus how he may inherit eternal life. Jesus asks the man a series of questions concerning his behavior in order to compel him to tell the truth and reveal his obedience to God’s laws. The young man showed by his responses that he was earnestly religious. He had kept the commandments concerning adultery, murder, bearing false witness and honoring his parents since childhood.
It was at this point in the conversation that Jesus tested the true allegiance of this young man’s heart. Jesus told the young man to sell all his assets and give the proceeds to the poor. Then Jesus instructed the wealthy young man to follow Him. The young man revealed that his true love was his wealth. He was grieved by the thought of losing his great wealth and power.
His failure to obey Jesus caused him to lose the greatest wealth of all: the gift of salvation through Jesus and eternal life with God. The moment he rejected Jesus and walked away, he became a poor man in spirit and someone to be pitied. He chose his earthly wealth over salvation through Jesus. It was a mistake he would live to regret. Wealth displaces God in the lives of rich people, which is why it is so difficult for them to receive the gospel.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Have you been tested by God?
- Did you pass or fail the test?
- How did you feel when you passed or when you failed?
Pray for the Disaster Relief ministry of Brentwood Baptist Church. This team mobilizes for relief and recovery in the immediate wake of damaging storms, and has served multiple places in Nashville across Tennessee, and in hurricane recovery in Houston and Dominica. Pray for readiness, safety, and for the people our teams will serve. Ask God to use the gospel conversations that will happen through these efforts.