In this passage, Christ commands the rich young man to give up all that he has as the price to follow Christ. This young man had lived a life of moral perfection as he had been taught that it meant. Christ challenges his spiritual zeitgeist and being (doing) by trying to replace it with one of giving. Christ wasn’t just challenging this young man to give up all the things he had, but to give up who he was. This young man knew doing good while being defined by what he had- he was rich and defiantly not a giver. Is this passage a call to tithe to a church, or give to the poor? While those things are important, I think Chris was pushing for a little something more.
As believers we are called to die to Christ and give up all we have and are for the glory of hi name. This young man had been called to give up his possessions as an example of his devotion to Christ. Surly had he followed through with that it wouldn’t have stopped there. For our lives in Christ should never plateau, or even out, but will constantly be challenging our expectations until the only expectation that remains is one to be loved and challenged.
While reading this passage, I thought about what response I would have had to Christ’s radical call. So often, we, in our cozy church Bible studies criticize the young man in that story. We think he’s stupid and selfish too for not heeding the call of Christ. What we forget to realize is how often we are that young man. I think back over just today and how I know the Lord has called me to give up my critical and gossip centered talk. I remember conversations today that were not godly and didn’t bring Him glory. How can I, even for a moment, believe that I am any better than the young man in this parable? I am no better at all. The only difference sis the current challenge I am facing isn’t over the love of money, but the love to be better than others.
This parable is often used to warn of the importance of valuing things of Christ as more important than money. I think this can also point out to all believers that no matter what your biggest temptation, Christ’s Purpose is bigger. For me, it’s gossip, for this young man it was greed, but whatever the temptation, our God is much bigger and will give us more than we could every imagine we need to be confident in giving these things and our whole lives to Him!