Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Choices: Young Rich Ruler vice Paul (Saul)

In Mark 10:21, Jesus looked at him (the young rich ruler) and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him, loved him so much He pointed the young ruler to where his earthly love conflicted directly with his love of God.

What did the young rich ruler do? Verse 22 gives us the answer, "At this [instruction] the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth."
Because he could not follow the direction as he loved his wealth too much.

Compare that to what Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) did.

Paul describes what he gave up to follow Jesus in Philippians 3 during an argument against requiring circumcision.

Making sure everyone knew circumcision was not required, he said, "If anyone could have confidence in things of the flesh" [circumcision] it was Paul, but he did not. Circumcision means nothing or as Paul put it, he had been "circumcised on the eighth day", was not only a member of the people of Israel, but also of the tribe of Benjamin and as he put it a "Hebrew of Hebrews" ... in other words no one was more Jewish than Paul when he was known as Saul of Tarsus. He also knew the law as a Pharisee and in zeal persecuted Christians. He had a righteousness based upon Jewish law that was considered faultless. He was not only a Hebrew of Hebrews, but also a Pharisee of Pharisees and a persecutor of Christians!

However, unlike the young rich ruler, Paul gave all of that up. Every bit of it.

Then he writes from a Roman jail saying he considered his loss of everything meaningless because of the "surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus" and in fact considers all that he had before garbage [worthless] and now he has a righteousness (v9) "through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."

Paul made the choice the young rich man wanted to make and should have made. The young rich man went away with a sad face probably crying because he loved his riches so much. Paul gave up everything and had joy even while chained up in a prison dictating this epistle to the church of Philippi.

My advise, imitate Paul when your time comes to choose.

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