The Rich Young Ruler

Did you hear about the drunk who was down on all fours late one night under a street light? He was groping around on the ground, feeling the cement, peering intently at the little cracks. A close friend drove up and asked, “Sam, what are you doing there?” Sam answ … More

Riches

This story of the rich young ruler reveals how, in spite of the fact that he came to the right Person, asked the right question, and received the right answer, he made the wrong decision. Something always stands in the way of a person coming to Christ. It may be pride, position, family, friends, a particular sin or even wealth. In this man’s case it was money (vv. 18-23). His wealth made his life comfortable and gave him power and prestige. When Jesus told him to sell everything he owned, He  was touching the very area of his life that was dearest to him (v. 24).

It is not the possessing of riches that keeps people out of heaven. Abraham, David and Solomon were wealthy men. Instead it is being possessed by riches that makes it difficult for the  wealthy to be saved. Wealth often gives a person a sense of false security and he feels no need for God. Jesus surprised His hearers by offering salvation to some of the poor. It is a difficult thing for a self-sufficient person to realize his or her need and come to Jesus, but the things which are impossible with men are possible with God (vv. 25-27).

Jesus surprised some of His hearers by offering salvation to the poor. It may surprise some people today by offering it to the rich. The rich young man in this story was possessed by the love of money and he would not let go. He wanted salvation on his terms and not God’s, so he went away in great sorrow. This should be a warning to people who want a salvation that does not change their values or their lifestyle.

Application

Is there anything in my life that is keeping me from coming to the Lord or in serving Him? I need to be reminded constantly that everything I own belongs to Him.

Luke 18:18-27 (English Standard Version)

And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said, "All these I have kept from my youth." When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

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