The young man said to him, “All of these (the Ten Commandments) I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
The rich young man wanted to be “perfect”…which is impossible! He falsely believed that it was up to him to be good enough for God…when God loves us as we are…in our imperfection. That is what saves us. He was on his own personal salvation project! Observing the Ten Commandments is a great idea to keep us in line…to give us boundaries so that we can have a strong moral foundation. But there isn’t a person who can keep them to the letter. The rich young man was very concerned about what he needed to do to “gain eternal life.” He didn’t understand that we are all imperfect and cannot possibly do anything to “earn” our way into heaven. That is a free gift! What Jesus calls each of us to do is to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the path to wholeness and becoming our true selves. This is the path to taking part in God’s evolving plan of love. It is not through our doing…but through God’s. We receive God’s un-earned transforming grace and forgiveness…so we can pass it on. There is nothing innately bad about possessions if we remain detached from them. They can be used for much good. But many times they can become idols that stand in the way of us loving God and neighbor. Jesus could read the young man’s heart and see that his possessions were attachments and his top priority. The man mistakenly believed that he needed to be perfect to be accepted by God. What are your attachments? What do you need to let go of so that you can become your true self?
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Remember…God loves you!