Possessions Don’t Help You Obtain Eternal Life

Martin Luther said, I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. - (Source unknown)


Jesus was often criticized for spending too much time with the wrong kind of people. Even the disciples thought He should be spending more time with what they considered the important people. Jewish mothers wanted their children to be blessed by what they considered a distinguished Rabbi so they brought their children to Jesus. The disciples could see that Jesus was under a lot of strain at this time and so they did not want Him to be bothered by these children and thus tried to protect Him (v. 13). When Jesus saw what was happening He was upset and told the disciples to let these children come to Him (vv. 14-15). As He took them up in His arms He explained how that anyone expecting to enter the Kingdom of God must come with a child-like faith (v. 16).

Next comes the story of the rich young ruler who came running and knelt before Jesus along the road asking for spiritual help and questioning how he could obtain eternal life (v. 17). Jesus knew this man had his heart so much on earthly possessions that he would have to entirely part with them before he could become a Christian (vv. 18-20). He asked the man to sell all that he had and give it to others in need (v. 21). When the man heard this he said,"I want it, but I don’t want it bad enough to do that” (v. 22). Here is the only man in the New Testament of whom it is said that he went away sad from the presence of the Lord, though many of them were sad when they came to Him. This earnest seeker failed the test. Money is a marvelous servant but a terrible master. If you possess money, be grateful and use it for God’s glory; if money possesses you, beware.

This story lays down the essential Christian truth that respectability is not enough. Jesus’ question to this man was very straight forward, “With all your possessions, with your wealth, with all that you could give away, what positive good have you done to others? How much have you gone out of your way to help and comfort and strengthen others as you might have done?” Respectability, on the whole, consists in not doing things; Christianity consists of doing things. That was precisely where this man, like so many of us, fell down.


Ask - What is one of my most valuable possessions? Why do I value it? Is there anything that I need to give up to serve the Lord?

Mark 10:13-22 (English Standard Version)

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