I want to invite you to read Matthew 19:16-22 before you read this devotion. I will be looking at some of the details from the encounter of the individual known as “The Rich Young Ruler” and Jesus.
This young man came to Jesus with a very good question. He asked the Savior, “What good thing shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Most everyone would love to have the answer to that question. Jesus gave the answer. Jesus said that the young man needed to follow the law of God. Something interesting here is that Jesus only referred to the commandments given concerning inter-personal relationships. He said, in effect, “Don’t kill, steal, commit adultery, lie about your neighbor, and be sure to honor your parents. Also, love your fellow-man as you would love yourself.” The young man knew that he had done well concerning these commands, yet he still felt unfulfilled. There was something more that he knew needed to be done in order to inherit eternal life. So he asked Jesus another question: “What lack I yet?”
In answering this question Jesus gets to the heart of the matter. He tells the young man that if he really wants to make it to Heaven and spend eternity with Christ then he would have to be sold out to God. “Go and sell that thou hast, give it to the poor…and come and follow me.” Jesus laid it out for all to see. If one wants to enjoy eternity with the Lord, he or she must completely be sold out to Him.
Are you sold out to Jesus? Or are you a sell out?
Someone who is sold out to something or someone is completely dedicated to their cause. He or she is loyal, unable to be persuaded to go in a direction that is against the person they are sold out to. But a sell out is a different being altogether. A sell out always leaves himself a way out of everything he says he is “committed” to.
Two figures in America’s history that will help me illustrate the differences between a sell out and someone who is sold out to a cause would be Benedict Arnold and George Washington. Benedict Arnold at one time was one of the best military men the United States has ever been able to claim. He was brave on the battlefield. But through a string of events he began seeking better opportunities for himself, rather than for the country he was fighting for in the battle for Independence. Eventually he sold out his company, leaving them exposed to the enemy. In return he received some money, a position of rank in the British military, and a name as a traitor. No one wants to be called a “Benedict Arnold”. George Washington, however, gained respect and admiration, inspiring hope and courage in his troops because of his dedication to the cause and unwillingness to quit until he saw his cause of freedom all the way to victory. Benedict Arnold was a sell out. George Washington was sold out.
Christ demands His disciples to be sold out to His cause. That means Jesus is top priority. Everything else takes a back seat to Jesus. There is no room for anything to come between you and your Savior. That’s what Jesus required of the rich young ruler. Jesus knew what was in the heart of man. He knew that possessions often become a hurdle too high to leap in the race. So Jesus told the young man, “Give it all up and follow me.”
A spiritual sell out always leaves a way out of his walk with Christ. He keeps his options open just in case a more pleasurable opportunity comes along; or, in the case of this young man, if a required sacrifice seems too costly to make for the cause of Christ.
Are you sold out? Or are you leaving your options open?
Let me leave you with this passage from Hebrews 11:25-26 concerning Moses:
“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.”
The narrow way, or the “sold-out” way, leads to life eternal. But the broad way, or the “way of the sell-outs” leads to destruction. (Matthew 7:13-14) Jesus’ call to you is just the same as the rich young ruler. “Give up everything, come, and follow me.” He awaits your response.
Comments and Questions can be sent to Kenneth Crews at firstname.lastname@example.org.