The Young Rich Man

We all know the story: a rich young man approached Jesus asking about what good he should do to gain eternal life to which our Lord responded: “keep the commandments.”  Unsatisfied with the answer the young man continued: “what do I still lack?”  To say the least, Jesus’ response totally caught him off guard.  “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  Remember how it ended?  The Gospel tells us “when the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” (cf. Mt 19:16-22)

    There are great lessons to be learned from this story and yes, they are also meant for you to consider and reflect on.  Have you ever had that inkling that urged you to ask Jesus the same as the young rich man: “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”  Have you heard His response?  Could He also be asking you to risk giving up everything to follow Him?  

    Perhaps your next question might be: does God always ask us for what’s difficult?  He’s demanding, yes… but he fills the heart to overflowing.  He promises a hundred fold in this life, along with its trials and persecutions, and in the end eternal life.  Jesus didn’t just ask the rich young man for all his possessions.  He also told him right then and there that he would have treasure in heaven.  The problem is that he got too caught up in what he was losing to even consider that the gain was so much greater.

    Love – if it’s authentic, should cost you and hurt.  It means sacrifice.  Sacrifice tests love and fruit of it is pure joy.  All the possessions in the world can never make you rich.  Your attachments and worrying about them will only make you a poorer person, unless your money (or gifts and talents) turn into service.  To be perfect requires more than just following the commandments – it requires total generosity.