Mark 10: 17-27 states:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good Teacher” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ” “Teacher” he declared, “all these things I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples. “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “with man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
I believe this to be one of the most important but often misunderstood stories in the New Testament. Many people often misunderstand the message because they get caught up in Jesus’s command for the man to give away all of his money. If you look deeper, here are a few interesting things you will find:
- You will see that “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” When he looked inside the man’s heart, he could tell it was centered around things and material wealth.
- Jesus referenced all of the relationship commandments because this is the one thing that this man lacked. He wanted the man to see that all of the things of the world mean nothing without a relationship with him and the Father.
- He asked the man to “Come, follow me.” This is the answer to his initial question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus knew that this man would have to let go of his material things in order to have a relationship with and follow him. When Jesus says to give all of your money away, he doesn’t literally mean for you to go clear your bank account and drop it off at the soup kitchen. What he means is to let go of anything that is keeping you from having a relationship with him. It could be money or it could be something else. He wants to have all of you, so that you can have all of him, eternal life and more.