Image by DavidDMuir via Flickr
It's a familiar story. A rich young ruler is faced with a huge challenge. Having asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, he is stunned to hear that he must go away and sell all his possessions. Of course, Jesus is not telling us all to do such a thing, but He is telling us to do something much harder. "You lack one thing", Jesus says. Here is a man being asked to let go of an idol. Look at his reaction; "he went away grieving", v.22. Has Jesus ever asked you to give up something that made you really struggle? I know He has of me. I wonder what that thing is for you? Whatever it is, it will keep us from Him, from loving Him with all our hearts, from joy in our walk, and victory in our spirits.
But this story is also full of hope. It is shot through with Jesus love and compassion. Notice that Jesus comes and meets him at his own level, even in the quoting of the commandments he gives the man the opportunity to gain ground. And then perhaps the most extraordinary verse; "then, looking at him, Jesus loved him", v.21. For a look or expression to be noted and recorded, it must have had a huge impact, not only on the ruler, but also on those who observed it.
Let's take comfort from the fact that Jesus knows what we struggle to let go of. He knows how we've failed. He knows what we need in order to know His life in all its fullness. The young man went away grieving but there was hope for him for "Godly sorrow produces repentance", 2 Cor.7:10. May we receive the grace we need today to make the changes that He is asking of us.