And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:20-22
We meet this young man who appears to be very well off, certainly financially, and possibly spiritually. He desires to please and love God, as evidenced by keeping God’s commandments. But as we read, there is a problem this young man has been unable to address. His heart is following another treasure…money. Jesus easily identifies the man’s heart-issue and gives him a solution; get rid of the wealth, and you’ll finally receive a treasure your heart yearns for. This is not what the young man expects to hear, and he departs in sorrow.
Abandoning our treasure, however each of us defines it, is painful. We don’t all follow after money, but let’s not fool ourselves, our hearts are mesmerized by false treasures. It can be difficult to let go of these things, and we can quickly establish patterns in our lives that protect these counterfeit riches. This is what occurred for this young ruler. The pattern of loving money became so strong, that escaping it appeared to be impossible for him. Here is the issue for the young ruler: It wasn’t that his possessions were too much or that he couldn’t donate a portion. Worse, he felt it would be impossible to be free. He thought it impossible to be the type of person that can live without this false treasure. He believed, “It’s impossible for God to make a heart-change in me.” When you, like this young man, live in a place of “impossibilities,” you will always walk away in sorrow.
Ultimately, the young ruler in the story made the wrong conclusion. He concluded not even God could set his heart free from the lure of his treasure. Bottom line: He determined it’s impossible to live free. But Jesus declares, what is impossible for man, is not impossible for God (Mark 10:27)! Jesus didn’t intend to leave the man in sorrow. Jesus wanted him to see, though it may be impossible for you to break free, it is certainly possible for God to supply the grace and power you need. This is the hope of Jesus Christ! We don’t have to walk away in sorrow, when our hearts are stuck in the muck of sin. We now have hope and are promised victory, because of the work of Jesus Christ!
If you find yourself walking away in sorrow, stop right there. Don’t draw the wrong conclusion about your fate and about the goodness of God. For with man it’s impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God. This is the conclusion we can all live in!