It’s Advent season! I have been trying to dwell on the celebration of Christ’s birth and the real meaning behind Christmas instead of all the craziness and hubbub. I start every day by reading the Bible and was moved by this section of Matthew so much, that I had to share. It forced me to take account of what I’m treasuring in my heart and to re-center my focus on Jesus Christ our Lord.
Matthew 19:16-30 is the story of the rich young man asking Jesus how to achieve eternal life. He asked “Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?” When Jesus responded to keep all of the commandments, the man said he had kept the full law, but what did he still lack? Going straight to the heart of this man, Jesus told him to sell everything he owned, give the proceeds to the poor, and come with Him. The man sorrowfully turned away and left Jesus.
I think this rich young man came to Jesus expecting a stamp of approval. He self-righteously protested he kept all the commandments. He proudly assumed he could achieve eternal life by checking off a to-do list. Furthermore, it didn’t seem like he was open to what Jesus truly had to say because he didn’t do what was asked of him.
If the man was humble, and if the Holy Spirit was working in his heart, he would have responded with incalculable joy at selling all of his possessions to gain Jesus. He would have been the man in the parable of Matthew 13:44: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” The young man would have seen that something infinitely greater than his wealth was standing right before him and gladly do whatever Jesus asked of him.
I’m so often like this young man. I come to Jesus with my list of Christian things I’ve accomplished and assume I deserve the reward. And I often hold tight to worldly things not willing to give them up when I have the Messiah offering Himself to me. Will I be like the man who gave up ALL with JOY to have a deep, personal relationship with Emmanuel? I want to be!
Where are you with this? What is your most valuable treasure? Do you struggle with treasuring Jesus above all else? What certain things are you holding onto or less than willing to give to the Lord if He would ask it of you? Feel free to pray the following prayer with me if it speaks to you!
Lord, change my heart and forgive me of my self-righteous sin. Reveal to me the things I’m clinging to and give me the strength to let them go. Allow my heart to be tuned to your grace and love you more than anything! Be my treasure Jesus. Amen!