June 20

Text: Matthew 19:20-22

The young man *said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property. (NASB)

The young man’s approach to spirituality had not been fulfilling.  Though he was quite successful by material standards, he questioned his success spiritually.  To his credit, he did not assume spiritual success because he experienced material success.  He did not say, “Because of what I have materially, I also must be an achiever spiritually.”  Material wealth does not guarantee spiritual significance.

What did this man want?  Did he think he could eliminate all spiritual doubts he had by an affirmation from Jesus?  Since he viewed spiritual success to be a matter of “doing” as had been material success, was he seeking the superior thing to do?  Did he want to be told how wonderful he was?  Did he want a special relationship with Jesus as the 12 had?

Whatever he expected, he did not receive what he hoped to receive.  Whatever he wanted, he had not imagined that it would affect what he had.  Like too many of us today, he never imagined what he had materially would affect what he aspired to be spiritually.  To me, one of the most frightening verses in the Bible is Luke 16:25—But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.  (NASB)  Jesus will be second to nothing or no one in a follower’s life.

Jesus saw something perhaps the man had never seen—the man’s attachment to what he had.  He had a choice.  He could keep what he had materially, or he could follow Jesus.  Being committed to both was not an option.  The man was grieved.  He wished to follow Jesus, but not at that price.

Suggestion for reflection: What is your choice?  (Read Mark 10:28-31.)

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