Matthew 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-23; Luke 18:18-23
One day a man asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, how can I enter the kingdom of God? I want to live forever.”
Jesus knew the young man was very rich. He also knew the man had trained for many years to become a religious leader. Jesus told the young man something he already knew. “Follow the commandments.”
The young man said, “I have been careful to follow all the commandments. Now I want to do more.” This man wanted to make sure he was as close as possible to God.
Because of this Jesus loved the young man. He knew, though, there was one thing which stood between this man and God. He knew the young man loved his money and things more than anything else in the world. The man loved God, but he loved being rich even more.
So Jesus said, “You have missed one thing. If you want to become perfect, go and sell your things and give your money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. Come, follow Me.”
When the man heard this, he became very sad. He lowered his head and turned away. He knew deep down that he had not given God first place in his life. He was not willing to give up his riches and follow Jesus.
Jesus’ disciples still sometimes thought that God’s love could be bought with money. They assumed that people were rich because God wanted to reward them. That is not necessarily true. Jesus said, “Listen, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to love God more than his money.”
Jesus is part of God’s plan for saving people from all their wrongs. Only through Jesus can they enter the kingdom of heaven. It has nothing to do with how rich people are or how hard they try to be good. People think they have to do all sorts of things in order to earn their way into heaven. The truth is, God makes it possible. It is His gift for anyone who asks for it. You can’t buy it and you can’t earn it. God alone can give it to you.
Jesus said, “Everyone who is willing to leave behind their homes, parents and friends to follow Me will be given a hundred times more while they live on earth and in the world to come. That is the place where people live forever. Many who are first here on earth will come last in heaven. And those who come last here, will come first in My kingdom.”