June 7th, 2021

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Mark 10:17–22

The best way to understand this encounter with Jesus is to take it very literally. Jesus wasn’t talking to you or me. He was talking to a rich man in the first century. He was offering him the opportunity of a lifetime—an invitation not available to you or me. He was inviting him to literally liquidate everything and join the caravan headed to Jerusalem. He was offering him a spot on the team—a team that had left everything to follow Jesus (see verse 28). In the end, he chose his stuff over a place in history. He chose poorly. Ultimately, he lost both.

But we aren’t off the hook.

We too are invited to follow Jesus. From time to time, we’ll be called upon to give up or give away something precious. In those moments, we would be wise to remember that what we cling to will ultimately be taken away. But if we choose to give it, leave it, or set it aside, we will have something to show for it. If not, like the man in the story, we will experience total loss.