Response to Jesus: Joy is found when you leave all that stands in the way of knowing Him.
He had it all but had nothing that mattered.
He had it all but he didn’t have joy.
He came to Jesus wanting answers, but he didn’t like the one he was given. He came looking for answers but really just wanted a pat on the back. He wanted Jesus to say, “You’re trying so hard, good job, keep working at it and one day you’ll earn back God’s love”.
But Jesus knew that trying to be good is actually death, because how good is good enough? Flawed humans will never make it. Jesus told him to get rid of everything in the way of knowing true joy found only in him, the only good thing.
He called Jesus good but wouldn’t call him Lord.
He saw that Jesus was worth calling good but not worth leaving all he had to follow him. He acknowledged his morals but didn’t want to acknowledge his lordship.
His response to Jesus was one of sadness because what Jesus asked of him was too hard. He called Jesus good but what he looked to for good gifts was his money. He acknowledged that the way to live a moral life was good but to live a life that followed Jesus was too reckless, too costly. Leave behind everything, sell it all, give it to the poor? Surely that was too extreme, that was poor judgment. There must be another way.
But the thing that makes you compromise with Jesus is the very thing keeping you from the true life he offers. For this guy it was his stuff. For some it might be that relationship, that career plan, that dream home, that expectation of your family. The thing you try hardest to keep a grasp on is the thing that is keeping you from the kingdom of heaven, from the goodness you are trying so hard to reach on your own. Jesus was being so loving in asking this man to give up his money because he could see that money had made him a slave. We are created to live in freedom yet sell our souls to these things that own us.
Jesus lovingly asks us to give them up so that we can live in joy with him as our only good treasure.
What will your response be to Jesus who is asking for it all? Will you walk away sad or will you sell it all to know him? Are you acknowledging his existence without admitting to his rightful throne on your heart? Will you seek temporary comfort or will you risk it all for eternal joy? What is Jesus asking you to give up in order to follow Him in true joy?