I'm captured by the story of the rich young ruler. (Matthew 19:16-22)
These are two very different men encountering each other. Jesus and this rich young man.
You have to understand Jesus is from a poor background and doesn't have a place of his own. He sleeps at other people's houses and ministers daily to the poor and needy.
He came to save and seek the lost. He came for the poor who were forgotten by the rich and condemned by the religious elite. But Jesus has a reputation and this young man has a question to ask.
'What must I do to inherit eternal life? I've already inherited riches, lands, property, and everything the world can offer. Now what must I do to inherit eternal riches? How do I add even more to my wealth and inherit spiritual wealth?'
Can you imagine Jesus's response? Sell all that you have. Sell all your wealth. All your property and riches and houses. Sell everything.
He must be thinking about everything he has and how hard his family worked to acquire all of it. How hard he must have worked to acquire it. And then to sell all of it. Everything.
Not only that. But the money he gets from selling everything he has to give to the poor. Take everything you and your family have ever worked hard to possess and give it all to the poor and then follow Jesus. Follow Jesus. Have no place to lay your head. Live among the poor. Minister to them. See them. Touch them. Be them. Follow Jesus.
How can this be? I believe Jesus is so right because this rich man in fact had nothing, even with all his riches. He had nothing. Nothing.
Jesus said to store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy. This man had no treasure in heaven and therefore he had nothing. He had a means to bless others, but he wasn't doing it and so he had no treasure at all, for all his treasure will rust and be destroyed.
But he could sell all of it and give all that money to the poor. He could alleviate the injustice between the rich and the poor and store up treasure in heaven be blessing them. And then he could follow Jesus to live among them, teaching, healing, and ministering to them.
I'm challenged with this call. It's not houses, land, comfort, or health that can give me any treasure in heaven. It's giving it all away that gets me eternal life. To live needy. That's what it means. And yet to never have to go without because there is enough for everyone when we share. It's all about faith.
We have to trust God will provide our daily bread. We have to live needy. Sacrifice it all and risk everything on the Son of God. That's how we gain treasure in heaven. That's how we gain eternal life.