A rich young man asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. By his own standards, he seemed to have lived a pretty good life, yet, while speaking with Jesus, the desire of his heart was exposed, and it became clear this young man leaned more toward loving his money than following Jesus!

Mark 10:17-23 NIV

 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 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!”

With all his professed desire to gain eternal life, the rich young ruler loved his money more than his soul. He left distraught over the answer Jesus had given him. It wasn’t so much having money, as it was his attachment to it. Jesus was not saying that money or having money was evil. He saw the heart of the rich young ruler and wanted him to know what he lacked most was a relationship with the living God. The rich young ruler couldn’t let go of his earthly possessions and in the end, lost everything.

Shortly after World War II came to a close; Those in Europe began picking up the pieces. Much of the old country had been ravaged by war and was in ruins. Perhaps the saddest sight of all was that of little orphaned children starving in the streets of war-torn cities.

Early one chilly morning, an American soldier was making his way back to the barracks in London. As he turned the corner in his jeep, he spotted a little lad with his nose pressed to the window of a pastry shop. Inside, the cook was kneading dough for a fresh batch of doughnuts. The hungry boy stared in silence, watching every move. The soldier pulled his jeep to the curb, stopped, got out, and walked quietly over to where the little fellow was standing. Through the steamed-up window, he could see the mouth-watering morsels being pulled from the oven, piping hot. The boy salivated and released a slight groan as he watched the cook place them onto the glass-enclosed counter ever so carefully. The soldier’s heart went out to the nameless orphan as he stood beside him.

“Son . . . would you like some of those?”
The boy was startled, “Oh, yeah . . . I would!”

The American stepped inside and bought a dozen, put them in a bag, and walked back to where the lad was standing in the foggy cold of the London morning. The soldier smiled, held out the bag, and said simply: “Here you are.” As he turned to walk away, he felt a tug on his coat. He looked back and heard the child ask quietly: “Mister . . . are you God?”

You are never more like God than when we give!

John 3:16 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Had the rich young ruler really understood this, his end may have been different. You can have everything this world has to offer, but without Jesus, you lack the one thing that matters most. God tells us He “loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7), and He promises us that the one “who is generous will be blessed” (Proverbs 22:9). Let’s believe Him and learn to make giving a lifestyle. Deep inside most Christians is a genuine desire to release instead of keep . . . to give instead of grab. It is worth whatever it takes to cultivate that and make giving a way of life. Trust Jesus, it’s worth it!

On this last day in our week of giving, honor God by giving something of value to someone. This doesn’t have to be monetary, but something that demonstrates your trust in God rather than earthly possessions. 

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