The young ruler and the becoming rich man.

Here are the stories of two men.

The first man was raised in a prosperous family. His parents had accumulated wealth and in the same time had exposed their children to the law of God.They have learned how to obey to every commandment of God. The young man was very zealous and had done everything it’s parents have asked him to do. It had become his way of life. He got up in the morning and said his prayers and before he slept he said his prayers. He was able (do not forget that he didn’t need to work to put food on his table every day) during the day to read, to pray and meditate in the law of God. He avoided wrong friendships that weakened his zeal for the Lord. He was a good kid in the neighborhood. As years passed his religious life had become somehow monotonous. One day he heard about a young preacher who spoke differently. Everyone was saying that this preacher was a gift from God, as he talked about God and eternal life very different than other teachers. So the your ruler made his mind that he will go and talk with this preacher. The day came and as Jesus was interacting with the people around, the young man approached and without any warning asked: “Good Teacher, what I should do to have eternal life”.

When you hear someone coming directly to you without any warming and ask this very important question, no doubt the person has spent a good time thinking about it.

Jesus didn’t say: “Don’t call me good, because only God is good”. It was not a statement in the first part. He asked: Why you call me good, when only one (God) is good”. According to Jesus statement, God is the measurement of goodness and if you call Him good, you might consider calling Him – God.

Today, people have the same challenge: they can call easily other people as good people, but have problem to call God -good. People blame God for everything painful that happens in the world, so God can’t be good by allowing those things to happen. 

Today, people even call themselves good and based on their level of  goodness evaluate others.

Some go even further by calling themselves better than God.

Jesus said: God is good. Every good deed is evaluated from God’s perspective.The pure goodness is only in God and from God. So in our reasoning based what is happening in our world, we need to invite God in our internal and external conversations. At Isaiah God said come and reason with me and if you sins are red I will make them white.

Then Jesus brought first in the conversation with the young ruler, the commandments of the LAW. It was interesting that Jesus mentioned only some of the commandments: 1) No adultery, 2) No killing, 3) No stealing, 4) No lying, 5) HONOR PARENTS.

Let’s see the list of 10 main commandments or Decalogue from Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21

  • You shall have no other Gods before me
  • You shall not make for yourselves an idol
  • You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
  • Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
  • Honor your father and your mother – (5th in the list mentioned to the young ruler)
  • You shall not murder -(2nd in the list)
  • You shall not commit adultery -(1st in the list)
  • You shall not steal -(3rd in the list)
  • You shall not give false testimony -(4th in the list)
  • You shall not covet
  1. Why Jesus didn’t mentioned the rest of the 5 commandments?
  2. When someone could ask you: What are the commandments i need to keep, what you with start with?
  3. How are you today by keeping the commandments? Do you like keeping them or try to avoid them when you need?

The young rich ruler says that he has kept those commandments since he was young. So he lived a very disciplined life. But somehow he was empty. He was looking for another commandment. He needed to be sure that he was going to eternity with God. So he wanted to do the maximum on his side.

  1. Let pause here. Do you think that doing good works is a good or a bad thing?
  2. Do you think that disciplining yourself for the sake of God is a good or unneeded thing?

Let’s continue. Jesus than said: Three things you should do then: 1)sell everything, 2)give the profit to those who don’t have and 3)start over by following me.

In the middle of it Jesus promised an wonderful thing for the young rich person: “you shall have treasure in heaven”. The man was asking for the three steps to make his life count. And Jesus answered him and to everyone who might be asking the same questions like the young man.

Jesus told the man (in my words): You came to me and declared that I’m a good teacher. I’m giving you the honor to follow this good teacher. Can you follow me? I see that all your wealth can prevent you following me, that’s why you need to give up your accumulated stuff and be free to move and follow me.

The young man was sorrowful. Why? Would you be sorrowful?

Let me tell from my own experience. When I got saved in university in the post-communist Albania, like most of other people I didn’t had much material possessions. When I decided to follow Jesus I sacrificed much from the possible future, but not a lot from my present. I gave my time to study the scriptures, to pray, to go in prayer meetings, to go to evangelistic campaigns, to share the gospel in the street with strangers. Others invested that time for themselves. They continued their studies, upgraded themselves or started businesses and were looking for the best jobs possible. I was living very simple life. Here in Canada where life standard is higher, it is more difficult for me to let the accumulated things go. So, I understand the young ruler. What Jesus asked him was impossible for the majority of people. Most of people like me will sacrifice the possibility to get stuff, fame, wealth, but would have difficulty to give them away when they had them.

Jesus didn’t mentioned one very important commandment to this man, but he mentioned at another discussion to other people.-the first one. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul. And the second one was not having idols.

The young man loved God, but not very much. He loved more his riches and social position they brought in his life.

Think with me: Do we love everyone and everything the same? Compare:

-Your parents vs your cousins

-Your siblings vs your schoolmate

-Your husband/wife vs workmate

-Your laptop vs your cup of coffee

-Your bible vs a library book

-Your phone vs your lunch

We don’t love/like our friends the same, although we use the same verb for everyone.

To know how much we love God we need to compare it with other things in our life and put in a list of prioritization. In this way we would be fair and honest.

This young man, thought that he loved God because he was keeping some of the commandments. But when he became real with his need, his internal void and voiced it out, he got the answer that troubled him.

Let me tell you another story told by Jesus. This person didn’t had the same upbringing like the young rich ruler, but was very demanding of himself. He had worked hard – and work is a very good thing. He had worked hard and had collected wealth. He had seen other rich people and wanted to be like them. He wanted to work hard while he was young that when he would be older and retire, he might enjoy from the wealth he accumulated in his youth.

He made plans and it is good to make plans. But he forgot a little detail. He was not in full control of his life. As everyone else he was going from this earth, but in his case earlier than he thought. Jesus considered him “Fool”. Because he gathered for the unsure future, instead of depositing in the sure eternal life. Here is the story Jesus told from Luke 12:15-21: And he said unto them, Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he reasoned within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have not where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, be merry. But God said unto him, Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required of thee; and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

The rich young ruler wanted God in his life, but couldn’t have God as the prime ruler of his life. The becoming rich person didn’t care about God, all he cared was himself. He was comparing himself with the one he would become while he worked alone and planned alone. What would happen if both men would meet each other and have a serious and sincere conversation? What if the rich ruler would be open to tell to the aspiring one that all the wealth he had didn’t give him assurance for eternal life? Would he care? Would you?

  1. Where are you today?
  2. Do you resemble with any of these two persona?
  3. Are you someone that already is blessed materialistically and is looking to have peace with God and have fulfillment with God?
  4. Are you someone who is accidentally in this blog and all you care is to become rich and famous, and you wonder why I bother to write about this?

We need to be sincere with ourselves.

What are we looking to have in life? We all aim. What we are aiming to? Are our life’s purposes with eternity inside or just with temporary profits?

Jesus is looking today for your heart, for your inner self, the one that you cover very well and try not to let other people see. Jesus knows who you are.

Come to him today.

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