Everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:29
In this passage, Jesus had just challenged the rich young ruler to sell everything and “come and follow me.” The young man had lived a righteous life. On the outside he looked good, probably more together than the former tax collector disciple. But with laser accuracy, Jesus reveals the heart. He pointed to the idol where this young man’s sense of security, value, and worth lay hidden.
Jesus is not afraid to set the bar high. He has every right to ask for extreme sacrifice because of who he is. He is the priceless pearl worth having. And so He prescribed the remedy for this young man—”Give it all away and find true riches in me.”
We see, then, that to follow Jesus requires a willingness to give up our idols. An idol is defined as “an object of extreme devotion.” Jesus says that “Where your treasure is, there you heart will be also.” In other words, “there your devotion will be also.” Our most ardent devotion can be discerned by how we spend our time, our money, and what we think about most.
I don’t know about you, but Jesus’ challenge to the rich young ruler makes me a bit uncomfortable. I ask myself, “Would I have been willing to give it all up? Would I be willing if He asked this of me now?”
We quickly say that this scripture does not mean that Jesus is asking all believers to sell all their possessions. True. But seeped in a “me culture,” we’re simply not used to the idea of denying ourselves. Too easily I see myself making excuses when challenged in some area.
The Lord demands that our hearts be so ordered that every kind of love or attachment is secondary Him. The question to ask is, “Have I given Jesus the right to ask anything of me? Anything?”
Sacrifice. Deny self. Not popular themes these days. But this is the only way to tear down an idol.