The real question from Jesus to the rich young ruler is pretty simple. "What are you willing to trade for life in God's kingdom?" In Mark 10:17-27 a man runs up to Jesus. There is urgency and expectation in his voice. "Good teacher ... what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" The ensuing conversation is one of those watershed moments in the Gospels.
Here's the gist. The young man desires to "inherit" God's kingdom. This is the first point ... to inherit you must be related. Maybe he should have asked ... "Jesus ... how do I become your relative." Jesus has already answered this question pointing out that those that are related to Him are those that follow what He says. The young man responds that he has kept the commandments of the law of Moses. Here is his (and sometimes our) first mistake. Only Jesus can truly fulfill the law of Moses but Jesus calls us beyond those laws. "The law says ___ but I say ___ ." Jesus fills in those blanks with some pretty difficult things. One of those things is what Jesus says about what we possess. I wonder if Jesus is thinking ... "Why are you wanting to inherit more ... you have everything anyone could possibly want? Do you intuitively know that something is lacking and that there is an emptiness in you?" Jesus looks at the man and points out "One thing you lack ... you are possessed by your possessions. So choose your inheritance. Will you attach your life to the stuff you have or will you attach yourself to me as your relative? Will you trade your stuff for a relationship with me?"
Many of us look at this story and say, "Yea ... that's right! The rich young ruler goes away sad because his possessions own him!" Since we view ourselves as having little then we are able to look down on the rich young ruler and judge him harshly. Let's take an honest step back.
We all have things we can trade in for a better and more Biblical relationship with God. How about our time we spend addicted to our devices? Do we think it honors God that we take hours daily on all the "apps" that have a hold on us? I just blocked several people on Facebook because 90% of my notifications came from them. I like them and love them as friends but really ... should I care that they are chillin at the mall? By the number of posts I can see (and really everyone but them can see) that they are addicted to their devices, their apps, their games and their digital interaction. How about trading some of that time in for Godly interactions like mission, church, family and watching your kids grow?
And while I am pointing fingers I can turn that around and point at myself. Sports? Fishing? Football? Hunting? Television? You can add any time-killer you like. But I hope you get the point. The rich young ruler is being asked to trade in the worthless for the worthwhile. He is being asked to trade the temporal for the eternal. He is being asked to become a full and alert participant in life the way God intends ... not the way Google, Facebook, TV Networks, Advertising Agencies, Political Parties, Governments and Special Interests intend. Becoming a trader is waking up and seeing the world as it is ... not as we are led to think. That's my take ... what do you think? Randy