Watch as the rich man approaches Jesus. He wants to know what he must do to gain eternal life.
A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life.” Luke 18:8
Is Eternal Life Something we Gain?
He came to Jesus because Jesus had the words to life – eternal. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Jesus is not impressed with someone’s talent or riches. Yet, Jesus was aware of the rich man, his assets, and his motives. The rich man seriously wanted eternal life.
The rich ruler found his purpose, worth, and identity in his wealth.
He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth. “When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow Me.” Luke 18:21-23
Is It About Supporting the Poor?
At first glance, we might interpret Jesus wanting him to support the poor. But that was not the issue. Instead, the soul was willing to obtain eternal life but unwilling to give anything up.
The treasure in heaven is of great value than the treasure in hand.
Someone else may have told him to sell everything and give it all to them while adding the part about following them. But, you see, Jesus doesn’t need our wealth. The poor will always be with us. Jesus was more concerned for his soul.
Is it about wealth?
Sadly, the rich ruler refused to unchain himself from his riches. It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.
I refuse to leave the story here. I imagine the rich man spent days thinking about what Jesus said to him. I hope he heard Jesus explain that nothing was impossible with God. He was not a lost cause. God can do what men can not.
Only the Lord knows
We aren’t given the rest of the story. Maybe the rich man went back and slowly sold all he had until he was ready to follow Jesus. Maybe he was one of the believers in the upper room. Is his name written in the Lamb’s book of life?
But this one thing we do know:
The rich man encountered Jesus.
An encounter with Jesus has eternal value and life-changing consequences.
And He said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or wife or brothers, or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more than this age, and in the age to come eternal life. Luke 18:29-30
What is Eternal Life?
There is only one place in the Bible that defines eternal life for us.
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent. John 17:3
This rich ruler felt he lacked something and that something was eternal life. He had obeyed the law and prophets, but it was not enough.
The tragedy is that if the rich man had obeyed the Lord then he would have had two things that nothing could buy – eternal life and a personal relationship with the Lord.
Call to Action:
Take a few minutes and think about what you give most of your time, thought, energy, and devotion. Maybe, just maybe, we’re more like the rich man than we think.
Give all you have to the Lord and continue to follow Him. You’ll never regret it.
Martin Luther is quick to tell us like it is:
“A man that depends on the riches and honors of this world, forgetting God and the welfare of his soul, is like a little child that holds a fair apple in the hand, of the agreeable exterior, promising goodness, but within ’tis rotten and full of worms.”