We all have questions about eternity. John Piper, a Christian pastor and author, said, “Answer the big question of eternity, and the little questions of life fall into perspective.” Jesus had an encounter with a man who had questions about eternity. We can glean three important things from this encounter.
First: Everyone Has an Important Question
The writer of Ecclesiastes (3:11) said that God has put eternity into the heart of man. There is something in us that longs for answers about eternity. The young man who approached Jesus wanted to know what parts of the law he needed to keep in order to gain eternal life. He felt confident that he had kept the commandments and asked what more he needed to do.
• What questions do you have about heaven?
Second: Everyone Has an Idol
Jesus challenged the young man to sell his belongings and give the proceeds to the poor — and then, most important, to leave everything behind and follow Him. Jesus made it clear that following Him would cost the man everything. He needed to trust in Jesus rather than in His wealth. We must examine our own lives to determine if there is anything that we have placed ahead of Jesus.
• Is there an idol in your life that is vying for your attention? If so, what steps do you need to take to sell all you have and follow Jesus wholeheartedly?
Sadly, the young man went away grieving because he had many possessions. The cost of following Jesus was too high for him.
Third: Everyone Has a Savior
After the young man departed, the disciples, astonished at what they had just witnessed, asked Jesus an important question: “Then who can be saved?” (Matt. 19:25). Jesus pointed out that salvation is impossible without God. The young man in the story wanted to be righteous but he did not want a relationship. By asking the young man to sell his goods, Jesus was forcing him to examine his own heart and determine his priorities.
• To whom or to what are you looking to for salvation? Is there anything in your life that keeps you from trusting or following Jesus wholeheartedly?