Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. ~Matthew 19:21–22 (NKJV)
Jim came to me feeling anxious. He was raised in a wonderful home and had offered his life to Christ. Yet he felt God wouldn’t listen to him. He was baffled.
I remembered feeling as Jim did. Then someone had pointed me to the story of Jesus and the rich young man. “The story tells us that Jesus wasn’t primarily interested in what we do to ‘be good,’ but whether we put God first. Anything other than God that we put first, when we make our decisions, that is our real god.”
Jesus asked the rich man first to give everything to the poor. The young man could not do that and left sorrowfully. He already had a god: his wealth.
I told Jim about the rich young man and how I realized Jesus was saying to me, Keith, you can’t follow me as a disciple, because you already have a god that you obey when the chips are down. To follow me in the way I taught, I must be the one that you obey.
I wrestled quite a while before I could finally say, “Okay, God, I sur- render my whole life to you, including the secret gods I’ve been hiding. I love You more than these.”
Lord, thank You for showing me that even the good things in life will be ruined if I put them before You and make them responsible for my happiness. Amen.