The rich young ruler had one serious defect—selfishness. Unless his selfishness was removed from his heart, he could not progress in to perfection. His possessions and money were the most important thing in his life. They were his idol and his love. Jesus wanted to free him from the power of the god of money which is why He asked him to sell all that he had. This was his only hope for having eternal life.
Jesus confronted the young man with the choice between earthly and heavenly treasures. But the young man wanted both, and when he found out that he could not have both, he “went away sorrowful” (Matthew 19:22). God blessed the rich young ruler with money but he was not wise as to how to spend it. And, thus it became a curse to him rather than a blessing. Eventually, he would lose even what he was given (Matthew 25:28–30).
God doesn’t ask every person to give up their possessions and money because each person has a different weakness. Jesus does ask every person to submit his idol or weakness, whatever that may be, in order to be freed from its bondage. When an individual loves something more than he loves Christ, that item makes him unworthy of having Christ. (Matthew 10:37, 38). Even the most important earthly responsibilities should be secondary to following Christ (Luke 9:61, 62).
When Peter, Andrew, James, and John were called to follow the Master, Jesus did not ask them to sell their boats and fishing trade, simply because these things did not come between them and the Lord. Nevertheless, when Jesus called them, “they forsook all” in order to follow Him (Luke 5:11). Paul “suffered the loss of all things” in order to “win Christ” (Philippians 3:7–10). To have the pearl of great price, or eternal life, one must be ready to sell “all that he hath” (Matthew 13:44–46). This may be fame, position, family, career or anything that comes between him and the Lord.
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In His service,
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