Jesus had a conversation with a young leader with deep resources. We don’t know whether he inherited his wealth or he was a successful entrepreneur. We just know that he was wealthy.
And we know that he was as obedient to God as he knew how to be. He asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. When Jesus pointed him to a list of commandments, the man affirmed his observance of them.
And, the text says, Jesus loved him. Which took Jesus to the next statement: “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
And the man slowly and sadly walked away.
When I think about that story, I’m captivated by two things. Jesus loved the man. And because of that love, Jesus confronted the man.
I know we could use other words, like carefronted or explained or offered additional options. But it’s pretty clear that Jesus wasn’t giving the man options. The man had to follow Jesus. And to do that, this man needed to sell the things that he was following more than he was following Jesus.
What Jesus knew is that following God means following God, doing what he says to do. And when Jesus tells the man what to do, it’s like a message from God.
I guess there’s a third thing that catches my attention, though I don’t much like it. Jesus doesn’t go after the man to negotiate.
I think I’d like attendance at Jesus rallies to matter more, no matter what. But Jesus compassionately offered more than attendance. He offered a way of living that depended on him, knowing that dependence would be sufficient for this life and for the eternal life the man wanted to inherit.