Just last Saturday, I was given another privilege to speak and inspire young people. I gave a short devotional talk to our youth ministry’s dance group. I talked on Matthew 19:16-24.
In the text, there was a rich young man who asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus pointed him to the commandments. When the rich young man asked for specifics, Jesus enumerated five of the Ten Commandments, which can be summed up to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Then the young man took pride in himself, claiming he have kept all of them. He even asked what he lacked. So Jesus replied, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (v.21). Hearing this, the rich young man went away sad.
Why did the rich young man went away sad? I believe we can find the answer in verse 21. When Jesus said this, I believe it’s more than just a command. He meant it to expose what was really inside the heart of the young man. And I have observed two things.
First, he did not really love his neighbor. If he did, he could have easily surrendered his wealth and gave it to the poor, his neighbor. It only shows that he did not obey the command “love your neighbor as yourself”.
Second, he did not love God at all. He treasured his wealth more than God. Matthew 6:19-21,24 says:
19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 24“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
What if God exposes your heart right now? What will people see? Do you really love Him and your neighbors? It’s my prayer that we will not be like the rich young man, who treasured his wealth (and ultimately himself) more than Jesus and people.