When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. (Luke 18:23)
Expanded Passage: Luke 18:20–25
In recent media, there have been stories of corruption in higher education. Wealthy parents have paid a pretty penny to secure entrance for their children into esteemed colleges and universities across the globe. As you may have noticed, it didn’t work out for them. Instead, these families had embarrassing and costly consequences that couldn’t be further from their original intentions. People were never meant to pay for their admission into these institutions. There is a preestablished process for gaining admission.
The lesson Jesus shared with the young rich ruler—and with us—is similar in focus. The things we acquire on this earth are not going to secure our entrance into an eternity with him—and those possessions certainly will not be going with us beyond this life. If we desire to trust Jesus on this side of heaven, then we must loosen the grasp we have on our earthly wealth and possessions.
A key thing to notice in this passage is how very sad this young man was as he walked away from the presence of Jesus. While he may have been morally upright in many ways, his possessions still ruled his life. When something like wealth controls you and keeps you from this blessing, you will always walk away sad. True blessing and happiness come when we can say yes to Jesus with a joyful heart.
Let us be led by our need for Jesus.
Holly Atkinson is a pastor’s wife, mother of two girls, and a graduate of OKWU and Wesley Seminary. She currently serves as an assistant principal at a private school in Florida.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.