Most of us have some vision of greatness for our lives, though that may diminish with time and reality, we desire to be a great person in some way. Maybe it’s in the eyes of our spouse, children, friends, co-workers, or in some other setting, but no one really wants to be known as average or mediocre. In Jesus day wealthy people were believed to have been blessed by God. They were in an exclusive club. When the rich young man came to Jesus asking what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, neither he nor the disciples expected the answer Jesus gave. “Go, sell all that you have and give it to the poor.” There is no Biblical teaching that says material possessions and money are evil, nor some command that rich people must give away all their wealth. However, in this case, Jesus saw the one thing standing between this young man and an eternal inheritance—his wealth; material things were #1 in his life. Jesus must be first in our lives if we are going to attain greatness. The world saw the rich young man as great, but in the eternal world of God’s kingdom he was least; he wasn’t willing to make the necessary sacrifice to attain greatness.
Jn 10:10, 15:19; Mk 10:17-31; Mt 19:27;
… “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17) … “One thing you lack” Jesus said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mk 10:21) The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mk 10:24-25) “But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.” (Mk 10:31)
Greatness is not an exclusive club. A lot of people have the appearance of greatness in this world, but they haven’t sacrificed. They don’t have a relationship with God. When eternity rolls around, they’re going to be the least. Jesus clearly says, that God honors sacrifice, both now and in eternity. Can you imagine walking up to Jesus and telling him you want a great life, abundant life, eternal life. What would he ask you to sacrifice? You probably already know the answer. Maybe you’ve been struggling with it for some time. Perhaps you are irritated at having to think about it right now because you keep it pushed back. Whether that sacrifice involves friends you shouldn’t be hanging out with, an addiction that’s keeping you down, materialism that has a grip on you, a focus on your job and reputation that takes all your time, or whatever the thing is that is holding the #1 place in your life, you must let it go to know how worthwhile putting Jesus first will be! God rewards sacrifice.
What have you sacrificed for Jesus? What have been the rewards? Can you honestly say that Jesus comes first in your life? What do you still need to sacrifice? What persecution have you experienced? Why is wealth so difficult for Christians to manage?
Write down any sacrifices you have made for your faith. Write down the things you still need to sacrifice to fully follow Christ. Ask a Christian friend for their input regarding your priorities.
I want to know the rewards of putting you first in my life. Help me daily to sacrifice those things that continue to get in the way of my relationship with you. May I follow you in all that I say and do. Strengthen me each day, in Jesus Name I pray, Amen.