When the rich, young ruler came to Jesus it illustrated so much. His story can be our story. It doesn’t take a lot to hinder people from coming to the Lord—just one thing can do it. One thing can keep a person from a wonderful life. One thing can keep a person out of heaven and that one thing can put them in hell. Each person who does that lacked one thing. Is there anything between you and the Lord? Is anything lacking? That one thing is not worth it.
Mark 10: 17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
It’s hard to believe this young man went away from Jesus. He missed all the blessing and joy of being released from sin and being in heaven now. He missed the chance of a lifetime over one thing. In his thinking he was pretty well ready. He realized that even though trying to be a good person he lacked something. He didn’t have eternal life. Maybe he thought he fit the bill as he was. After all he was a good person. Jesus didn’t say that though. He told him he lacked one thing.
Jesus went over the commandments. The ones he mentioned dealt with the practical side of pleasing God. The young ruler said he did all these things. He didn’t mention the first few commandments about that dealt with God and a relationship with him. The boy had good morals; he was a good neighbor and good family person. A lot of people are trying to do right things. We understand the ungodly going to hell but tend to think those who are good people are all right. It was hard for this boy to think he lacked a lot. What’s important is to measure up to the cross. Come to the cross first. Don’t get the cart before the horse. You must go through the door first. Jesus is the door.
This boy ran up to Jesus excitedly. He wanted to hear Jesus. He respected him. You can have respect for the Bible and God but if you don’t accept Jesus you will go to hell. It’s more than religion or believing the Bible. You must receive the Savior of the Bible. You miss the mark if you don’t do this one thing first. The boy was rich and came into the midst of a bunch of people much poorer. Even Jesus was of a lower class. He knelt before Jesus in humility asking what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life. Jesus said one thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. The boy thought he was as close as anyone could be. Being close is the same as being 1,000 miles away. One thing separated him from hell. He was about the best society had. Jesus gave him the chance but he let one thing hold him back.
One thing could be a person; it could be a possession or position or prestige. He knew something was missing but couldn’t put his finger on it. He was a servant to his riches. They possessed him more than he possessed them. If we’re not willing to surrender all we don’t stand a chance. Jesus didn’t tell Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea to sell their possessions. Matthew was a tax collector. Jesus didn’t tell him to do that. Many rich people followed Jesus and were not told to sell all and give it away. It didn’t come between them and Jesus. Most people who miss out do so because of one thing that comes between them and God. They are willing to surrender most things but not all. Jesus didn’t tell him to sell what he could do without. He knew what this boy struggled with.
You will lose a lot when you come to Jesus but it’s a life of sin that will keep you out of heaven. If will rob you of eternal life. Just one thing. Is it that critical? Sin is bad. Only one person could take care of it. Jesus had to come and suffer for us. He shed his blood. That one thing is what takes care of sin and gives everlasting life. Take up the identity of being a Christian and don’t worry about what you gain or lose. Follow Jesus and it will be all right.
The boy got to thinking about what all he had. He was sad and went away grieved because he had great possessions. Were they that great? Is what keeps you from the Master great enough to lose heaven? The boy left Jesus and there is no record of him following Jesus again. The only thing to do is surrender. Then follow. Then we have eternal life.