We all view people and the world around us in different ways. It’s called a worldview.
We see through certain filters, and these filters affect how we see things. They reflect our biases and our point of view. For example, we size people up based on our own perceived status. We see people as richer or poorer than us, skinnier or fatter, more intelligent or less intelligent, and well, you get the idea.
This story of the rich, young ruler who questioned Jesus about eternal life has three points of view—Jesus’, the young ruler’s, and ours. Our view may be similar to that of the disciples or the young man. But it’s nearly impossible for us to see things from Jesus’ point of view. In fact, many of us grapple with what Jesus tells this young man. It hits home, especially for us Americans. We are quite wealthy compared to most of the world, and we have a lot of stuff.
How much stuff do we have? So much that it requires more than 2.3 billion square feet in 60,000 self-storage buildings. (These are statistics from 2009.) That’s a lot of stuff!
The average American has a lot in common with the rich young ruler.
Look at what Jesus says first: “One thing you lack…” This young man lacked little in worldly possessions, but he didn’t have what he wanted. So Jesus tells him to sell what he has and give it to the poor, and this would bring him treasure in Heaven. The rich, young ruler went away sad. His possessions were too costly for him to give up. He couldn’t let go of them even for the one thing he really wanted eternal life.
“What I’m Sayin is”, When Jesus looked at the young man, the Bible says He loved him. Jesus knew what He told the man to do, but He did so out of love for him. If we believe Jesus loves us, then we need to take this to heart. When we say we’ll follow Jesus as His disciples, are we willing to exchange what we have for what He gives us?
Think About It…
Chaplain Answai T. White, B.S., M.Div., C.P.E.