Summary: The rich young ruler had it all - almost! One thing kept him from that which he needed the most - Jesus. What one thing is there in your life that is keeping you from coming to Jesus or going deeper with him?
The Man Who Had It All – Almost! - Luke 18:18-30 - January 8, 2012
One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"
"It was great, Dad."
"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.
"Oh yeah," said the son.
"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father. The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."
The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are." (Steve Miller, Illustrations, www.sermoncentral.com)
Perspective is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? I’m always amazed at how two people can look at the same set of circumstances and yet see things completely differently. For some the glass is always half full, for others it will never be anything but empty. But what I’ve found over the years is that my own perspective can be changed when someone, or something, helps me to see things in a completely different light. That’s a little bit of what is happening in our Scripture passage today. Jesus is going to help us see things from a different perspective – a godly one – a “Heaven’s Eye View,” if you will.
Now, the man we are going to meet in our Scripture passage this morning is one of those people who just seems to have it all. Maybe you know someone like that. Everything in his life has just seemed to fall into place without too much effort. Don’t get me wrong – he’s not lazy – in fact he’s got a great work ethic. But he’s one of those people that things just seem to happen for. Whatever he touches just seems to work out for him.
His story is found in three of the four Gospel accounts. God wants to make sure we learn from this man’s life. Mark tells us that he was wealthy. Money was not a problem for him. He wore the best clothes although he wasn’t flashy with them. His shoes were of the highest quality but not ostentatious. He could walk into any store and buy whatever he needed, or more to the point, whatever he wanted, and it wasn’t going to be a big deal for him. He had worked hard to get to where he was and he deserved to enjoy the fruit of his labour.
Matthew tells us that he was young. The word used to describe his age was used of those who were under 40 years old. Late 20’s maybe early 30’s – not so different than some of you who are here this morning. He still had all the zeal and enthusiasm for life that is so often found in the young. There was life in his step, passion in his words, and a fire in his heart.
Luke tells us that he was a ruler of some sort – possibly a member of one of the religious organizations of the day. The point is that other men looked up to him despite his youth. He was well thought of and had a good reputation in the community. He was living a good life. He had few real concerns. He had a degree of power and authority which others might have envied. His neighbours would have told you that he was a good person and a great neighbor to have. He was, in short, a man who had it all.
It’s not hard to find people like him in our society today. In fact he’s not much different that some of us who are here this morning. Maybe you even recognize a part of him in yourself. And to a degree that’s not a bad thing because the Bible tells us that Jesus loved this man. But because He really did love him He was going to help this wealthy young man to see things from a different perspective. And that’s what love does. Love doesn’t withhold the truth that someone needs to hear. So, from a heart of love and compassion, Jesus is going to speak truth into this man’s life – a truth he needed to hear but which he dreaded heeding. Open your Bibles with me to the Gospel of Luke and we’ll see what it is that Jesus wants us to learn from this man and why it is that He figures we need to take this lesson to heart. Luke, chapter 18, beginning in verse 18.