The Rich man in this passage begs Jesus to answer his burning question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus clearly explains this is a gift to be given, not a thing to acquire. It’s interesting that Jesus highlights some of the Ten Commandments, certainly something every Jew would know well. If we consider the first four are summarized in a phrase, “No one is good–except God alone,” the one commandment that is not specified is the missing ingredient for this man: “you shall not covet.”
Interesting that this man who has kept God’s commandments since he was a boy didn’t notice the missing commandment. Jesus explains that he lacks one thing: sell all your stuff and follow me. In a flash Jesus penetrates the man’s disguise and reveals his heart. “When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.”
Should we conclude, if you own anything, if you’re not serving Christ alone, you cannot be saved? Fortunately for us, the disciples hear this teaching and ask, “Who then can be saved?” Let there be no doubt,
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Without the disciples question and Jesus’ clarifying response, I might be troubled and feel trapped by the apparent wealth of my surroundings compared to others. Ah, but perhaps that’s the real insight here: “compared to others,” the tenth commandment. Do I dwell on what I have compared with others? Am I enamored by the latest shiny object? Or do I use what God has provided me as tools to do His work? My prayer is for the latter, though I’m guilty of desiring some things, I pray that I never forget this is all temporary and that many, many people are lost in this world. It is my desire to use everything I’ve been entrusted with to take care of my family (an incredible blessing) and reach the lost. In short, to be a good steward of all God has given me.