What if you only lacked one thing? Don’t you think you would have just about everything and be content? Would you be satisfied with all but one thing? Wouldn’t you be pretty wealthy if you only lacked one thing?
Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Mark 10:21 NASB
First of all, a man approached Jesus with a question: What must I do to inherit eternal life? Luke called him a ruler (Luke 10:18). The Greek word Luke used meant first, ruler, or leader. Therefore, this person was special. He was today’s entrepreneur. We also know from the end of this interchange that he was wealthy, too.
This person wanted to know what it would take for him to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ interchange ended with the verse above.
Most of us have not sold everything we have. More importantly, Jesus didn’t tell anyone else to sell everything and give it to the poor. We don’t have a record of Jesus asking the other disciples or the people who supported him to do this.
The Heart of The Matter
Most of the commentaries I read speculate that Jesus knew this man’s heart. This is the 3rd in a series of answers Jesus gave to this leader. It’s as if Jesus is setting him up, or trying to make a point. First, Jesus said, “keep the commandments.” The leader responded, “Which ones?” And Jesus mentioned a few, but not all of the commandments. The ones he mentioned applied human interaction. And he summed it up with “love your neighbor as yourself,” (from Leviticus 19:18). Jesus quoted this passage in the Great Commandment (Mark 12:28-31), too.
Surprisingly, the leader answered that he had kept all of those commandments. Have you? I haven’t. (There, it’s out!)
Jesus then boiled this person’s problem down to one thing. His stuff came in between him and God. Nothing had been said at all about loving God. The first part of the Great Commandment and the first of the Ten Commandments is that we would love God.
What Comes Between Jesus and Me
Does Jesus want you to follow him for his sake? Or does he want us to want to follow him? My eternal life exists now, so I can step into that life when I obey God and walk with him. Whatever I have that comes between me and Jesus is a problem. We don’t know what eventually happened to this ruler after he left, but we know he went away sad because he was wealthy.
What is the one thing you need to let go of in order to follow Jesus more? What keeps you from experiencing eternal life right now, walking with God? I don’t even want to suggest ideas. We all have some things that separate us from God. Ultimately, I believe there is “one thing” we each lack. Do we have the guts and the strength to pursue Jesus and get rid of our one thing? Will we ask God to show us that one thing? And will we do anything when he does?
This is another post on the phrase “one thing” from Scripture. You can see other posts with this tag, here.