“Matters of Faith: LOVED YET LOST!

By Reverend J. Loren Russell

Mark 10:21-22 NKJV
“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.”

What’s required to have eternal life? That was the question asked of Jesus by this rich, young ruler. He had not heard Jesus correct the thinking of the Pharisees, His disciples, and the others gathered in the region of Judea about their understanding of a man divorcing his wife. They had been taught that a simple decree of divorce was sufficient. But Jesus tells them two very significant and mind-changing things; “What God has joined together, let not man separate” (v. 9), and, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (vv. 11-12).

This young man also was not a witness to Jesus when He blessed and anointed little children who were bought to Him, while His disciples scolded those who bought them. He also did not hear Jesus when He told His disciples that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (v. 15).

But when He went down the road this young man came running, knelt down before Him and ask, “Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (v. 17). Had he heard Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees, and if he witnessed His encounter with the children and the disciples, he would have known that the answer he was going to get would challenge him beyond anything he had ever experienced. If he had heard or witnessed either of the previous incidences, his response would not have been, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth” (v. 20). This was his response to Jesus’ reference to The Law after his initial question about eternal life.

You see, this young man thought that his faithfulness to the commandments was enough to earn him eternal life. Jesus says, “Not so fast!” He tells 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” (v. 21).

Out of His great love for this young man, Jesus presented him with a transformative challenge — if he accepted it. He was told to sell everything that he held near and dear, give the proceeds to the poor, then take up the cross and follow Him.

It was easy for this rich, young ruler to depend on his assets and prominence, but the challenge was to go beyond his comfort zone and depend solely on God for all his provisions. The story ends with the young man going away sad because he had great possessions. Had he accepted the challenge, he would have gotten his request for eternal life.

How sad it is to be loved yet still be lost. Don’t let it happen to you.

Be Blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company and The J. Loren R Consulting, LLC for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting, an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook LIVE and author of Matters of Faith: The Book (eBook available at Smashwords).

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