The story of the rich young ruler has always been a fascinating story to me. You have a guy who seemed to have everything, yet was obviously searching for more. As this man comes to Jesus, he comes like many of us do. He comes needy. What we discover is that, even though this man has a lot, he doesn’t have everything. He is even aware that he needs.
I think of how many people I know that are in the exact same position as this young man. They have everything, yet they are still needy. I think of the times that I have been in the same position as this young man, having so much but still needing something.
If you ask me, some of the saddest words in all of the Bible come at the end of this story. Jesus made the young ruler an offer that would satisfy him, yet the Bible tells us that the man just went away sadly, because he didn’t want to give up what he had. When I read that part of the story, I want to yell at the guy, “But what you have isn’t enough! You are still unsatisfied! You are still empty!” The sad part about these verses is that the man wasn’t willing to trade that which is worth little for that which is worth everything.
I’m reminded of the words of Jesus:
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
— Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV)
I’m also reminded of something I have observed with many small children. What I have learned through the years with many very unscientific experiments is that small children will rarely trade you a nickel for a dime, because nickels are larger. They will always hold onto the nickel with a tight fist, even though you do your best to convince them that the dime is worth more.
Let’s not hold on to what is less at the expense of what is greater. Jesus always offers the greater. He always beckons us to give up what is rubble to gain what is treasure.
As you go through your day today, look for opportunities to give Jesus all of you. In doing so, you will gain.