By Brandi Hignight
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21
The main things that stand out to me about Mark 10:21 is that it starts with “Jesus loved him” and ends with “follow Me.”
Pretty obvious, right? But somehow, my mind wants to make these verses so…works based, one size fits all.
But I would be wrong.
I have selective amnesia and think “Go, sell everything, give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” But I’m missing the key points. If all I had to do was be poor, then I can do that on my own. Jesus be gone.
First things first, Jesus looked at him and loved him. That is the premise. Jesus doesn’t love him once he sells everything. He already loves him.
Stuff isn’t bad. Lots of stuff isn’t worse. But for this man, the stuff is what he loved most. What he loved above all else. He was willing to keep the commandments, IF he could keep his stuff.
Jesus was inviting him to be rid of the obstacle that had a death grip on his heart. His rightful place.
It is not a call to sell your stuff, and think, Okay, I’ve sealed the deal. Notice Jesus doesn’t stop there. He goes on, “Then come, follow Me.”
The section ends with Jesus’s call to follow and the man going away grieving because he had many possessions.
“Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us.” Hebrews 12:1
“But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ.” Philippians 3:7
None of us can follow God. We need a sinless, spotless Savior.
As I continued to read and consider, I thought how different the interaction could have been.
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Mark 10:17
Compassionate Jesus looked at this man asking what must he do for eternal life.
“You lack one thing,” He said (v21). “Follow Me.”
Jesus was trying to lighten his load. He basically said, “Come to me. I’ll take your load (Matt 11:28-30). Trust me. Sell your stuff. I’ll care for you.” He says this because He loves him–not to test, withhold, or punish him.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
The man followed his treasure, but it was not Jesus.
Christ is the treasure.