Sometimes we ask questions to which we don’t want to hear the answers. Such was the case with this wealthy young man in Matthew 19. He was a man who had lived well. He had been financially successful. He appears to also have lived morally. Yet despite his best efforts he had a troubling sense that he hadn’t done enough. So, looking for a little more assurance, he asks Jesus, “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Here the unwanted answer came. “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” (Mt 19:21).
Jesus’ answer set the man back on his heels. He had just wanted a little confirmation of his goodness and an easy assurance of heaven, but Jesus called him to do what would have been the last of his natural inclinations: sell and surrender. Jesus hit on the very gods of this man’s heart. The god of wealth and the god of self became the targets of Jesus’ answer. He knew what the rich young man held dearest. He knew what stood between the man and his eternal security.
“He went away very sad,”
What we hold dearest often becomes a blockage that keeps us from enjoying the gifts of God. One gift we often miss is that of a rested heart. It may be the things that make us successful or our most precious relationships that we cannot surrender to the care of God. Yet it is these things that have the greatest grip on our hearts,that keep us from enjoying the peace of God.
Jesus’ call to us is the same as his call to the wealthy man. He invites us to surrender what is most precious in order to receive a much greater gift. What is most precious to you? Have you surrendered it to the care of Christ, or is it a road block to the blessing God wants to bring into your life?
Prayer starter: Lord Jesus, open my eyes to see the blessings of surrender.
About the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.” Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
This excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book “Refresh“. Lyndon wrote “Refresh“ specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.