The Rich Young Ruler

Lou Lotz

READ : Mark 10:17-22

Sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me. (v. 21)

Have you ever noticed how people who seem to have everything are always searching for something? The rich young ruler has it all—wealth, youth, power—yet he feels an inner emptiness. He knows he is lacking something. Jesus knows it, too. “You lack one thing.” But Jesus’ prescription for spiritual health is a big pill to swallow, and the rich young ruler goes sorrowfully away.

Are we supposed to sell all our possessions and give the money to the poor? Not necessarily. The Great Physician does not prescribe the same medicine for every patient. Nicodemus wasn’t told to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor.” Nor Levi. Nor the woman at the well. Jesus sees in the rich young ruler a potential for discipleship that is being held by the love of wealth, so he says, in effect: “If your wealth causes you to sin, cut it off. Get rid of it!”

What is hindering your discipleship? What is getting in the way between you and Christ? Whatever it is, get rid of it. Then you won’t have to go sorrowfully away from Jesus. You won’t have to go away from him at all.


Forbid it, Lord, that anything should come between me and thee.