Mark 10:21 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.”
I have always read that verse with great trepidation… as well as this one…
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
However, over time I have come to understand that underlying these verses lies the same message that Jesus delivers throughout the entire New Testament: It’s all about our relationship with Him in light of everything the enemy uses to disrupt it!
To “lack” and not “hate” are pretty strong words, and unless we understand how they are used in context we can easily walk away with the wrong message. What did the rich young ruler lack? Why is Jesus telling us to hate our family? They both point to the fact that nothing in our life is more important than our relationship with Him. It all begins there at the moment we choose to follow Him and make Him the Lord of our life. The problem is, however, it is so easy to let other things creep in and move Jesus into second place… the love of the world’s riches… the love of family… and a hundred other things that press for our attention every day and every night.
Jesus used the rich young ruler’s love of money to point out how his priority was misplaced. But note what comes before the challenge… Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him. It was out of love that Jesus challenged the young man at the issue that was at the center of his heart. It was out of love that Jesus used the very thing that held him to focus on what he needed to do… come, take up the cross, and follow Me. Take up his cross? No, take up Jesus’ cross. In reality it wasn’t about the money, it was about his love of money that had put Jesus in second place.
The same thing can be said when we focus on our family instead of our Saviour. It has been clear throughout the Bible that it is God first, our spouse second, our children third and then all the rest. It is only when we understand that without Jesus as the centerpiece of our life, everything else suffers. Putting the meaning of the word “hate” as used here in perspective makes the point: in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with our attitude toward God. Another use of the word is to “love less;” love everything less than our love for Jesus.
Perhaps the expression – Sell It All – is a bit strong. But if we allow our love of anything to surpass our love of Christ we are no different from the rich young ruler. The truth is that we need to set aside everything to follow after our bridegroom, as the alternative is unacceptable in his eyes…
Mark 10:22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
We need to ask ourselves, what stands in our way… each and every day?