Have you ever read a passage of scripture in the Bible and interpreted it a certain way? All this time you thought you were correct in your understanding on that scripture but it turns out maybe you didn’t see it as clearly as you thought? I can say I thought I understood the story in Matthew 19:16-22.
A rich young man came to Jesus and asked the question, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus goes on to tell the man he must keep the commandments. The young man replied that he has kept all these commandments, but he still feels empty and unhappy inside. What else must he do?
Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this he went away very sad, for he had many possessions. ~Matthew 19:21-22 NLT
After reading this text many times I have always felt Jesus wasn’t just talking to this young rich man; He was talking to the “every man”. He was saying that these earthly possessions that you love and worship will bring you nothing. You can’t take it with you; and it will not gain you favor in heaven. So, letting go of your desire for money and following Jesus is the only why to have a fulfilling life, and ultimately enter the kingdom of heaven.
But, is there more than one way to interpret this scripture? Could it be that I didn’t see the full picture?
I was listening to K-Love(fm) on the way home from work the other night. They are airing a series called “Made to Crave”. To kick off this series of mini-sermons, Lysa TerKeurst was talking about this very scripture. It was an “Aha moment” right there in the middle of rush-hour traffic. The young man’s vice was money or possessions. Jesus saw right through him and called him out on it. Jesus could see through to the young man’s soul. Jesus knew the young man’s weakness. (He knows all of our weaknesses too, you know.) The man’s riches made him weak…and unhappy. The man was putting his trust in his money instead of putting his trust in God.
Every man/woman is born an idolizer. Everyone has a vice, a hang-up, an obsession. Food. Sex. Pornography. Gambling. Fame. Power. Jealousy. Anger. Whatever the vice, the message still applies. Give up what does not make you happy. Give up what doesn’t make you whole. Give up what makes you weak. Give up what is bankrupting your soul. Give it up to Jesus. Give it all to Him.
Let go of YOUR vice and follow Him and you will be truly rich. Big aha.
So, what’s your vice? What is stopping you from following Jesus?
Related scripture: Luke 9:22-34