Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him,'' Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?'' Mark 10: 17
Now everyone knows the answer to that question, don't we? If that would have happened today and the boy would have asked that question to any self respecting preacher, they would have told him to just ask Jesus into their heart and they would receive salvation.
After all the boy was rich and God could use all that wealth to further His ''KINGDOM AGENDA'', but that is not what Jesus told him to do. The young man was obviously very wealthy and truly asking for the way of eternal life, in today's church he would have been labeled a seeker and we wouldn't want to turn him away with a gospel that is too hard, would we?
Most preachers would have led him in a prayer, signed him up for membership and in no time would have made him a deacon and put him over the finances. But Jesus wasn't like most preachers, He knew exactly where this boy stood and where his heart was. The first thing Jesus did was to let the boy know that his goodness would not get him in because he told him to keep the commandments, something nobody has been able to do. The boy told Jesus that he had kept them from his childhood, trying to convince Him that he had done good works.
The next thing Jesus said, ''One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.'' Wow! That's pretty tough, sell your stuff, give to the poor, and follow Jesus, and oh what did He mean, take up the cross? Have you ever heard a preacher, evangelist or a pastor say this to anyone? Well, at least take up an offering and then sell your stuff, right, no, very wrong, Jesus meant what He said.
The first word out of John the Baptist, Jesus and Peter in regard to the message of salvation was repent, not pray a prayer. Jesus loved the rich young ruler, but He knew that his heart was tied to his wealth and unless he repented of pride, greed and a selfish life style he would never become a true follower.
Jesus said, ''How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!'' Mark 10: 23
Many would argue the fact that we are to sell our possessions and live solely trusting God to supply our every need, but in all of the gospel accounts that I have read they say just that. I've been in ministry for twenty years and I can tell you that trusting God is easier than trying to raise funds and it also eliminates selfish fleshly man-made kingdoms that demand large amounts of money to cover overhead that God is no where around. Believe me I've been there, done that, and it only leads to manipulation and selfish ambition.
God's love is not unconditional when it comes to eternal life, there are certain conditions to obtain it even though He loves us in our sin. He loved the rich young ruler, but He told him what was expected of him to enter eternal life. He didn't tell him to come along and they would work it out, He said, get rid of it and follow Me! Many are called but very few are chosen because for most, its just to hard.
Following Jesus is like joining the military, they provide all of your needs and train you for battle as well as tell you where your next assignment is. You cannot have your own life when you submit your will to another's control. So it is with Christ, you must give all to obtain eternity and store your treasure ( the place in which goods and precious things are collected and laid up. ) in heaven.
Its so easy to just show up in church and read a few scriptures about discipleship, but when it comes down to actually being one its a different story that will test you in every area of your walk with Him. Are you willing to give up all of your own possessions and leave your comfortable church life and go wherever He leads you? Remember, where your treasure is, there your heart will be.
''Again the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.'' Matthew 13: 44