We’ve all heard the story of the young rich man, who asks Jesus in these Scripture verses, “Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus tells him he must know the commandments, to which the young man says that he does all of that. To that, Jesus looked into the young man’s heart with love and tells him, “There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor …” The young man’s face falls, and he went away sad because he was a very wealthy man.
In an earlier scripture writing in this section on this same topic, entitled “The Rich Man”, I showed how being wealthy wasn’t a sin; but how you obtain the wealth can be. In this reading, it’s obvious that the young man had obtained his wealth in a legitimate manner; since he told Jesus that he had obeyed all the commandments. Since Jesus didn’t call him a liar, we must assume that the young man was being honest in his remark.
What Jesus does ask is that the young man give away his wealth. Now, Jesus didn’t ask other wealthy men to do this, other than His apostles. Why was it so important for this young man to give his wealth away, since he didn’t obtain it in a devious manner?
It’s because the wealth was more important to the young man than God and His Kingdom! Let me say this again — the young man loved his wealth, his things, his property and treasures MORE THAN GOD!
There are many references in the Bible to overdoing things: Proverbs 23:2; Proverbs 23:20-21; and Proverbs 28:7 all speak to the sin of gluttony. Galatians 5:23 says we need to have self-control. Titus 2:12 says we should say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. Ecclesiastes 7:18 sums it up best with, “The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.”
Otherwise, if we are living any type of extreme, then we are putting that extreme before God in our lives. The young rich man wasn’t willing to give up his “first love” for God — his wealth.
Take a quick inventory of your own life.
Are you putting something worldly before your love for God?