I admit it. I have no idea what it means to be rich, but–bless his heart–a rich young man came running up to Jesus and knelt down to ask, “What should I do to get eternal life?”
When Jesus pointed him to the Ten Commandments, the young man assured him that he had obeyed them since he was a child.
“There is still one thing you lack,” Jesus said (Luke 18:22, New Living Translation). He invited the young man to sell all he had, give to the poor, and follow him.
You could almost hear the young man gasp. Jesus had put his finger on the one barrier between this young man and whole-hearted devotion to God. He went away sad because he was very rich.
This makes me wonder what Jesus might point to in our lives as barriers between him and us. Where do we invest too much time and devotion? In beautifying our homes? In challenging work? In our investment portfolios? A hobby or sport? A relationship that draws us away from him? Maybe it is none of these. Maybe it’s something entirely different.
One thing is certain. Putting love for God first in our lives is a great investment for both the present and future. To the rich young man, Jesus had promised “treasures in heaven.” To his disciples who had given up everything to follow him, he promised they would receive “many times over in this life” and eternal life.
Removing the barrier–giving it up entirely, or reducing its place in our lives–may be costly. We may be reluctant and wonder as Peter did, “What will we get out of it?” (Matthew 19:27, New Living Translation).
But we have nothing to fear. God will make it up to us with great blessings and joy. Our lives will not be less. They will be greatly improved! What Jesus told his disciples long ago is true for us today.
Focus: “I assure you, everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, as well as receiving eternal life in the world to come.”(Luke 18:29, New Living Translation).
How about you? What might Jesus point out as a barrier between you and him? Are you ready to remove it–with God’s help, of course?