He went away sad, for he had many possessions
What was this rich young man thinking? Jesus, the Son of God, was standing right in front of him, inviting him to become a disciple. And the young man walked away. How tragic! After all, he really was a good fellow. He kept all the commandments, he tried hard to please God. He only asked what else he needed to do. But Jesus’ call was just too much. He could not see that following Jesus was worth infinitely more than all he had.
If only he had decided to follow Jesus, this young man might have begun to see things differently. His heart could have changed, and when he struggled, he could have said, “Jesus, help me! I want to follow you, but it seems so difficult.” Then Jesus would have worked patiently with him, just as he worked with the other disciples, who were far from perfect. He would have become a very different man from the one he was before. He would have gained so much more than he would have lost!
Walk away happy, not sad
Jesus does not want any of us to walk away sad. He wants us to know that we are not alone on the path of conversion. Not only do we have each other, but we have his Holy Spirit as our guide. The Spirit has so much to teach us and so much grace to pour out on us. But it takes time and willingness to stay close to Jesus. It takes patience and determination to trust in his power to move us forward. It takes confidence, knowing that if God starts something good in us, he will bring it to completion.
None of us have completed the journey yet. Like the rich young man, we all have further to go. And like this young man, we can all hear Jesus calling out to us, “Follow me.” Imagine that he’s saying that to you right now. Look into his eyes—there’s no harshness there, only love. He knows you are a work in progress, and he is encouraging you to keep going. He wants to lead you to peace, joy, and freedom. So follow him; don’t walk away.
-word among us