A Rich Ruler Makes a Poor Choice
THE rich young ruler was conscientious, law-abiding, and religious. Coming to Jesus, he fell to his knees and asked: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit everlasting life?”
In reply, Jesus indicated that to gain life the man had to keep God’s commandments. When asked to be specific, Jesus said: “You must not murder, You must not commit adultery, You must not steal, You must not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother, and, You must love your neighbor as yourself.” These were fundamental commandments contained in the Law given to Moses. The man then said: “I have kept all these; what yet am I lacking?”—Matthew 19:16-20.
Jesus “felt love for him” and said: “One thing is missing about you: Go, sell what things you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come be my follower.”—Mark 10:17-21.
Suddenly thrust upon the young ruler was a weighty decision. What would he do? Would he willingly give up material riches and become a follower of Jesus, or would he hold on to what he had? Would he pursue treasures on earth, or would he seek treasures in heaven? It must have been a difficult choice for him. He was clearly interested in spiritual values, for he kept the Law and inquired what more he could do to win God’s favor. His decision? He “went off grieved, for he was holding many possessions.”—Mark 10:22.
The young ruler’s decision was not wise. If he had become a faithful follower of Jesus, he could have received what he was searching for—everlasting life. We are not told what happened to that young man. We do know, however, that about four decades later, the Roman armies devastated Jerusalem and much of Judea. Many Jews lost both their riches and their lives.
In contrast with the young ruler, the apostle Peter and other disciples made a good choice. They “left all things” and followed Jesus. How that decision benefited them! Jesus told them that they would receive many times more than what they left behind. Moreover, they would inherit everlasting life. Theirs was a decision that they did not have to regret later.—Matthew 19:27-29.
We all face decisions in life—some small, some great. What did Jesus have to say about such decisions? Will you accept his counsel? By choosing to do so, you will be richly rewarded. Let us now consider how we can follow Jesus and benefit from what he said.