But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Matthew 19:22
I always wondered about this “young rich ruler ” in that he apparently was living a good life. Yet, when Jesus told him to “go, sell what you have and give to the poor” (v.21b) that stopped all forward movement. We may ask why? What causes us to come so close to being “perfect” as Jesus offered (v.21a) and yet we go the opposite direction; away from faith in anything that offers us the best.
C.S. Lewis had an interesting thought in his essay ‘On Obstinacy in Belief’. He said that as Christians, faith is demanded of us and there are situations where we demand it of others. And when we attempt to tell people a ‘better way of life’; both present and future is to “ask them to believe that what is painful will relieve their pain and that what looks dangerous is their only safety.
When asked the impossible, this young rich man took the other road. To remove a thorn from a finger, a bad tooth from the infected gum and to give more than to receive at first will have a painful result. It is not until we go through that pain will we ever know the painless result.
When we choose not to believe in anything, then we will never have to test ourselves for anyone. We do not have to prove our love to anyone. We can keep all our toys and occasionally give when it makes sense to us and not anyone else. Complete freedom to appease our self and no other unless we choose to.
Was that what the young rich man really wanted?