Its easy to give your all when you don't have much. Its easy to say, "I'll risk everything," when you don't have much. I suppose that's why so many people are more effective in their ministry when they first get started. They have nothing to lose. Therefore, they hold nothing back.
There is a real danger in having a lot. It can keep you from following Jesus. It can make you say that you will give up most for Jesus. Few people are truly willing to give all when they have so much. Such is the case of the story of the "Rich, Young Ruler" mentioned in Mark. This young man's story was significant since it was recorded in three of the Gospels. Matthew and Luke would also tell his story. He was one who wanted to do most but not all. He missed following after Jesus. He was an impact player who made no impact because he wouldn't leave it all on the field.
Yet, before we castigate this young man one more time, could we actually take a look at our own lives and do what Jesus asked of him? Would we sell our houses, cars and have nothing more than we can carry on our backs if we were asked to do so by Jesus? Do we really want to follow Jesus that much?
This young man went away sorrowful. He couldn't imagine living without his possessions. His sorrow indicates they didn't give him pleasure. He had thought that he could keep them as his own and still have eternal life. He had thought that he could surrender most and still have Jesus.
The young man went away. He separated himself from Jesus. He did this symbolically and literally. It seems that there will always be a separation when we are only wanting to surrender most.
Does our church attendance reflect a surrender of all or most? Do we come when it is convenient and nothing else is going on or do we work our schedule the best we can to make sure we are in attendance each Sunday?
Does our serving reflect surrendering all or most? Do we serve because we are called by Jesus or do we serve only until we can figure out a way of getting out of it? Are we prepared in our serving or do we put our service to Jesus off to the last minute? Are we preparing our Sunday School lessons at the last minute on Saturday nights or Sunday mornings?
Does our giving reflect that we consider all of what we have belongs to the Lord? Do we give without joy? Do we give only when it is convenient? Do we look at the amount instead of our own hearts?
Is surrendering all what Jesus also wants from us or was this a special request of this rich, young ruler? What do you think?
Mark 10: 21 (ESV)
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."