And he (the rich young ruler) said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things (the commandments) from my youth up.”
And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property.
I find this one of the saddest stories in the New Testament. I find this one of the most easy to relate to stories in the New Testament.
I am moved by Jesus’ love for the young man. I am moved that Jesus trusted his sincerity and integrity regarding his faithfulness to the law.
Jesus was not trying to attack him, or trick him, or show him up as a hypocrite. Jesus was generously answering the young man’s question about where he would find eternal life.
I find myself jumping to give my excuses. “Jesus was just talking to the young man. The requirement to sell all is not for everyone.” “I’m generous with fund raisers and street people.”
As valid as the two points are, for me they serve as excuses. Excuses to avoid examining what in my life may be keeping me from following Jesus.
I’m nervous to think about it even now. What about you?
Jesus is not trying to attack us, or trick us, or show us up as hypocrites.
He’s generously offering us eternal life when we follow him.