I don’t know how he did it, but the young man fought his way through the crowd and came face to face with Jesus. “Good Teacher, how may I inherit eternal life,” he inquired? I have little doubt that he asked the question sincerely. After all, he knelt down in respect and humility before the Lord.
Knowing that there were some heart issues with the “rich young ruler,” Jesus begin with an interrogation of His own before giving His answer. “Why do you call Me good,” He inquired, “no one is good but One, that is God.” Jesus referenced the Psalmist who said, “There is none who does good, no, not one!” [Psalm 14.3]. I call this a thinly veiled slap in the face, a wake up call, because Jesus knew the man was relying on personal righteousness for salvation, Jesus knocked the props out from under him. You just can’t be saved that way.
Then, Jesus pointed to the Law. Perhaps there was a sigh of relief because the man asserted that he had faithfully kept the Commandments from his youth. Jesus needed to teach him something about the first Commandment. It had to do with idolatry. He told the man he had to put away the god of wealth, “Sell all of your possessions, give the money to the poor, then come follow Me,” He said [Mark 10.21].
The young man didn’t want to hear that either so, he went sorrowfully away. Why? The Scripture says he had “great possessions” [Mark 10.22].
Well, he said he wanted eternal life, but now I wonder how much he wanted it. Which god or gods would he be willing to give up in order to serve the only true God? It certainly wasn’t the god of wealth.
There is nothing inherently wrong with wealth. Enjoy its blessing. Use it for good. But, guard you heart lest materialism and wealth pull you away from God and becomes a god. The treasures in heaven far outweigh anything you possess down here!
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “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.” Mark 10.21