And then Jesus told him six things to
do: go your way, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor. . .and
come take up your cross, and follow Me
Six things? Or was it really just, “You
must change your allegiance – put Me before worldly possessions.” The
records say Jesus “beholding him loved him” but the love did not change
the requirements, and He allowed the young man to go away sad and
grieved – but unsaved.
Sometimes I hear brethren speak of some
good neighbor, well loved and respected for his clean moral life; and
they say, “All he would have to do is just be baptized.” How very wrong
and shallow we can be at times.
“Just be baptized?” Just see yourself
as a lost sinner, wholly dependent upon the mercies of God? Just die to
you past life? Just submit to Him as Lord, in an act of dedication, a
pledge to put Him first for the remainder of your life, regardless of
the cost? The problem here is, we are unaware of our own failures, our
own lack of dedication, our tarnished new life (?), but want to use
ourselves as the standard for measuring others whom we would see “come
to Christ.” To Christ? Or to be with us?
An obedient faith is “one thing” all
lack, who have not come to Jesus Christ; but Jesus actually was being
more particular than we have indicated. When he spoke of “one thing” He
seemed to see the young ruler was allowing material possessions to stand
between him and God. In that sense, our lack of dedication may be due to
some particular weakness. Our special weakness might be the “one thing”
that keeps us from seeing ourselves as we are, and changing our way of
life: one’s craze for popularity, another’s desire for power, envy of
the neighbors (called “keeping up with the Jones”) or pure ego. These
“one thing” or more like them, can be the particulars that keep many of
us from serving Christ as we should.
My mother used to say, “A little thing
may keep you out of heaven.” She knew it wasn’t “little” if it did that
– but she wanted me to realize something I gave scant attention perhaps
deserved prayer and work. Don’t allow “one thing” to condemn you soul.