The Not so-Rich Young Ruler
This young man, a rich young ruler came kneeling before Jesus seeking eternal life. Some observations can be made as we see this encounter with the Saviour. Don’t trust in righteousness, religion, or riches but have a relationship with Christ:
Mark 10; Matthew 19:16-26; Luke 18
- An improper view of goodness can keep many from trusting in Christ. This man thought he was good for what he was doing. Jesus gave him a lesson first on human goodness and the true standard of goodness, God. Psalm 14:1; 53:1 This young man thought that he could do good in order to get into heaven (Matthew 19:16)
- Observing religious commandments cannot make a soul right with God. This cannot change the heart. Jesus sees the heart of this ruler and says that he is still lacking one thing. It is not many things that keep a soul out of Heaven; it is one thing. Failure to trust upon Jesus Christ alone for salvation. However it may be many things that keep a soul from the one thing that he is lacking. Jesus wanted this man to trust in Him, not in his earthly treasures. Thus the man was asked to relinquish his earthly treasures to rely upon Christ.
- Treasures upon earth can be a hindrance to trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Treasures can be a trap to the soul. Psalm 53:7; I Timothy 6:9-10
- Jesus loved him. The eyes of Jesus see this self-righteous sinner and they look upon him with love. Jesus loves each and every soul. He loves those that come to Him; He loves those that depart from Him by their own choice.
- Many seek to do things to receive eternal life. Many if not all desire eternal life but they are ignorant of the way to obtain it. This man came to the right place for eternal life but sadly did not like the answer he received. The way of salvation is simple in that one must trust in Jesus Christ alone, but it is not easy. It is easier for the camel to go through the needle’s eye. Salvation calls for a true submission, humility, and repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ. This sadly is too difficult for many-they go away sad, holding onto their pet sins. Salvation is simple yet hard (vs. 24). When giving out the gospel many times people ask if they will have to give up their sin if they believe upon Jesus Christ. Their heart has not yet been humbled by the cross.
- The heart of a believer must desire to deny the treasures of this life and to lay up treasures in Heaven. A disciple of Christ is willing to depart after Christ and to embrace death to self via the cross (Gal. 2:20). Jesus invited this man to a life of discipleship. The terms of discipleship are too great for many who are invited. They go away grieved. This man should have realized that this entrance into the Kingdom of God and a discipleship relationship was as the pearl of great price. Best to sell all that one has and to have Christ! What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul? This reminds us of an old song called, Pity the Man:
I GUESS WE SHOULD PITY, THOSE IN THE WORLD.
WHO MUST USE THE EARTH FOR A BED.
I GUESS WE SHOULD PITY, THE MAN WHO MUST TOIL.
FROM DAWN TILL DUSK FOR HIS BREAD.
BUT THESE CAN BE RICH, IF THEY HAVE CONTENTMENT.
AND SHARE IN GOD’S SALVATION PLAN.
BUT IF YOU KNOW ANY, WHO THO THEY HAVE PLENTY
ARE LOST THEN PITY THAT MAN.
I GUESS THERE ARE THOSE, WHO PITY THE SAVED.
AS THO THEY’RE MISSING LIFE’S BEST.
FOR GETTING THAT TREASURES OF EARTH PASS AWAY
AND HEAVEN’S THE PLACE TO INVEST.
MEAN WHILE ESTEEMING, THE MAN WHO IS SCHEMING
TO HOLD ALL THE WEALTH THAT HE CAN.
BUT IF HE’S NOT GIVING, TO GOD WHILE HE’S LIVING.
HIS SOUL THEN PITY THAT MAN.
PITY THE MAN WHO HAS TREASURES TO HOLD,
AND KNOWS NOT THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE.
PITY THE MAN THO HE LIVE LONG ON EARTH
AND KNOWS NOT THE GIVER OF LIFE,
DOCTOR OR LAWYER, TRAVELER OR MERCHANT.
OR A BUILDER WHO BUILDS ON THE SAND
PAUPER OR KING, TO BE SAVED IS THE THING
IF HE’S LOST THEN PITY THAT MAN.
- These statements about the hindrances to entering into the Kingdom of God caused astonishment in the hearts of the disciples. The narrow way of salvation seems too hard. The cost to one’s physical or financial welfare in this life seems too great. Who then can be saved? Salvation in all cases is impossible with man, but praise God it is possible in all cases with God. God is able to save each and every sinner who will come to Him in repentance and faith (vs. 24, 26, 27). Salvation is simple yet hard!
- Though this ruler had great riches in this world, he left this life rich toward himself and a pauper before God. He was not so rich in eternity. How much better to have the riches of God’s grace through Jesus Christ?
- This man was a ruler. He was righteous. He was religions. He was rich. Yet he still lacked one thing. Repentance toward God and Faith in Christ; the key to eternal life.