Matthew 19:16-22 (New Living Translation)
Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Why ask me about what is good? There is only One who is good. But to answer your question — if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” The man asked, “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.'” The young man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments. What else must I do?” Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus sees right into the minds and souls of the people he meets. He knows each person’s strengths and weaknesses, their failures and their potential. He sees in this young man a debilitating reliance on his wealth for security.
But, notice: Jesus starts to let the man off fairly easily. When he asks Jesus what he would have to do to gain eternal life, Jesus tells him to keep the commandments found in scripture. Keep in mind that Jesus would already know that the man had worked hard to be faithful to God’s Law. It is only when the man persists that Jesus asks him to give up the one thing separating him from total reliance on and trust in God: “Sell all your possessions, and come follow me.” He can’t imagine doing that, and he leaves the encounter with Jesus deeply saddened.
What part of your life are you reluctant to give up to God’s control? Your finances, like this man? Your relationships? Your eating or exercising habits? Your business choices? Your free time? What is it that Jesus might see by gazing deeply into your soul?