Three Strikes your out!
Merry Monday by Parris Bailey
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
The week before Jesus died was a week of weeks. He blessed the children, raised Lazarus from the dead, talked to some Greeks about eternal life, healed poor blind Bartimaeus, calls to Zachaeus to get out of the tree, cleanses the temple, gets anointed with oil by Mary, rides a donkey into Jerusalem, and washes the disciples feet just to name a few. I can’t help but to think that each one of those encounters mean something to us, but it’s the rich young ruler I want to focus on. He blew it, plain and simple. He reminds me of many of us today, clueless, blind and dumb. Let’s see how he struck out.
Mistake #1- “Good Teacher”- His first mistake was that he put Jesus into his religious little box by calling him “Good Teacher”. He reminds me of many who are ever seeking but never finding, always examining but never reaching the end. In 1994 Frank and I found ourselves returning to our first love, revival had swept through our church and our lives. Most of our friends just shrugged their shoulders and said, “oh, you needed that!” (Don’t we all need revival?) In other words this young man didn’t see who or what was in front of him. Do you?
Mistake#2- “What must I do?” His second mistake was he thought he had it figured out, that he just needed to do something and he could acquire eternal life. After all he was rich, probably from his dad working very hard in life and teaching him the same principles of success in life that he had learned. I am amazed that I meet the nicest unchurched people, they have great kids, great marriages, and just great everything! They have it all together, they too think Jesus was really a good man.
Mistake #3- “I have kept all the commandments”- that’s the problem with good people. They really believe in themselves and their ability. But Jesus finally laid it on the line. Look, buddy, you lack this one thing- “SELL ALL THAT THOU HAST, AND DISTRIBUTE UNTO THE POOR, AND THOU SHALT HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN, AND COME, FOLLOW ME.”
The rich man went away very sorrowful. Jesus hit the nail on the head all right. What lack I yet? Let’s step over and follow him to the fullest. The Rich young ruler has so much to gain but He left sorrowful with his pockets full. We come empty handed and he gives us joy! Which way will you choose?