The Sad Rich Young Ruler
THE SAD RICH YOUNG RULER
By Rodney W. Francis.
In Mark’s Gospel 10:17-27 we have the account of a rich young ruler coming to Jesus (also recorded in Matthew 19:16-26). He is enquiring of Jesus of the way to eternal life. He had a strong enough desire to seek for the answers to life to go to Jesus and ask. He addressed Jesus as “Good Teacher” (Mark 10:17). He obviously was a young man of great potential. Jesus told him to keep the commandments. He then asked Jesus what the commandments were. When Jesus told him, he replied that he had kept them from his youth ~ yet he knew he still lacked something in his life; something was missing. Jesus then gave him a word of knowledge about him being rich and told him to go and sell his possessions, give them to the poor and then come and follow Jesus.
When the ruler told Jesus that he had kept all the commandments, Mark 10:21 tells us: “Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him . . .” Think about this for a moment. Here the young ruler is on the receiving end of Jesus’ personal, one-on-one conversation and love. As Jesus looked at him He poured in the love of God to him as an individual. That would have been a very powerful experience. Yet the young man could not receive the word and love of Jesus, and turned away sorrowful. That is very sad.
It is hard for me to imagine how someone could have such personal attention and love from Jesus, and still turn away.
Obviously his riches had a powerful hold on his life.
Yet they did not fulfil him and give him the satisfaction in life that he was seeking; even though he said he was keeping the commandments of God.
Here is something to consider: it is impossible to keep the Ten Commandments and find fulfilment if Jesus is not Lord of our life. The only way we can fulfil those commandments is for us to have Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord of our life. And when Jesus Christ is Lord of our life, we do not need a set of ‘rules and regulations’ to live by. When Jesus is Lord and alive in our heart, we do not want to steal, commit murder, adultery, etc. Jesus came to give us “life and life more abundantly” (John 10:10). It is a different kind of life to that which the world gives us.
The hindrance to the rich young ruler finding the answers to what he lacked in life was that his riches came before a true and full commitment to God through Jesus Christ. It was such a strong hindrance and bondage in his life that he was unwilling to yield it to Jesus to find the fulfilment he was seeking for ~ even after Jesus poured His love to him! His riches did not give him the ideal in life that he was seeking. Yet he was unwilling to let them go. Unfortunately many people today are consumed by the desire for more money, riches, etc., thinking that it holds the key to a happy and fulfilled life. That is not true. I am told that the highest suicide rates in the world are actually among the millionaires! What they thought and believed would give them the satisfaction they were looking for turned out to be the opposite to that which they believed. It destroyed them. I remember being in an Asian city where I saw a lady sitting on the street begging. When I commented to the person I was with about it, he mentioned to me that she was a well-known millionaire! Money had so bound her up that it forced her to become a street beggar!! Let us not forget what the Bible says: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content (“satisfied”). But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation (“experiences of evil”) and a snare (“a trap, as fastened by a noose or notch”), and into many foolish and harmful lusts (“a longing for what is forbidden”) which drown men in destruction (“ruin, death, punishment”) and perdition (“waste, ruin or loss: physical, spiritual or eternal”). For the love (“coveting”) of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness (“do anything to get it”), and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness (“real, true, vital, and spiritual relation with God”), faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:7-12, NKJV).
The word “righteousness” in this Scripture means: “the doing or being what is just and right; the character and acts of a man commanded by God, in virtue of which the man corresponds with Him and His will as his ideal and standard; it signifies the sum total of all that God commands and approves” (Bullinger’s Concordance to the New Testament).
Note that money in itself is not evil, but rather “the love of money” ~ that is an issue of the heart. I heard this saying: “If God can get money out of our heart, He can put it into our pocket.” That is our experience.
Yours and my hindrance may not be riches. It could be a number of other things, and especially one particular thing that comes between us and Jesus Christ’s Lordship. Whatever it is, we need to let it go; to place it on God’s altar so we can demonstrate to God that He indeed does come first in our life. Until we come to that decision there will always be a lack in our life that will rob us of that “life and life more abundant” in Jesus.
BEWARE OF SNARES
Coming back to the case of the rich young ruler, Jesus then warned us of the snare of riches and how hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God. Riches give a totally different kind of security to that which Jesus gives us. Trusting in riches can only last throughout time, but following Jesus and making Him Lord of our lives lasts throughout all time and eternity! Hallelujah! The disciples were so amazed at the statement of Jesus that they asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied: “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:26-27). We have to fit into God’s ways, and not try and make God fit into our ways! Salvation is only of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Since 1st January 2000, Jean and I have lived totally by faith and have seen God provide for us in ways we never experienced prior to that time. We have been amazed at how true God is to His promise to us. He told us not to ask people to support us financially, and He would show us what He could do for us. The GFM Ministry costs several thousand dollars per week to keep going (not counting what Jean and I need for our needs); yet every month every bill is paid! (We have no debts or mortgages either)! Hallelujah to Jesus! When He is Lord then He is Lord of every part of our life and needs!
Salvation does not come through man’s ways, riches, attending church, etc., but only through a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
Have you committed your life totally to Jesus Christ yet?
If not, you need to do that today ~ NOW!
Personally, ask Jesus to come into your heart and life and to give you the assurance that He has accepted you and given you that born-again experience.
You will never be totally fulfilled until you do.
When you have done this, go and tell someone else what you have done.
Talk to Jesus daily and see what He will say and do for you.
Develop a commitment to do whatever He asks of you. He is the Spirit of Truth and will never lead you wrong or astray.
Let us learn from this passage of Scripture. So many people ~ even church-going people ~ make the same mistake as that rich young ruler. Even keeping the Commandments did not fulfil him. He knew something was lacking in his life. But he was not prepared to let go of that which motivated and bound him ~ and kept him away from the answer to his lack. The result was he turned his back on Jesus and walked away. He had a wonderful opportunity to discover true life and fulfilment through Jesus Christ. But the bondage of his riches would not allow him to discover that “life and life more abundant” in Jesus. If you are conscious of any lack or bondage in your life that is coming between you and the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then be encouraged to take some time to wait before God and allow Him to speak to you and tell you what you need to do. He waits to meet with you now.