No-Hitter, Follow up
I couldn’t leave this topic of the rich young man’s “no-hitter” from the last post without leaving one more thought. I want to give you my take on how to keep from pitching a losing no-hitter.
Most of the comments I hear about the story of the rich young man revolve around how materialism stood in his way of eternal life. While this is true, it only scratches the surface of what Jesus was really trying to convey. There is something much, much deeper.
Jesus framed his requirement of the man perfectly. He told him if he wanted eternal life to keep the commandments, something the young man already knew and did. But Jesus then told him there was one thing he lacked — sell everything he had and give it to the poor.
I believe Jesus was really alluding to something he would teach a short time later in Jerusalem. There he was asked which commandment is the greatest. He replied that loving God with all you are and loving your neighbor as yourself were the greatest commandments. Every other commandment hung on these two.
In my mind, this is exactly what he was telling the young man. If he wanted eternal life he was to love God more than his possessions, then love others by using those same possessions to help those in need. The young man already knew how to keep the letter of the law. What Jesus did was show him how to keep the spirit of the law as well. Basically Jesus was saying that without the love of God to go along with it, the law was meaningless.
And there was the real reason why this young man lost his no-hitter. He could only follow the rule of law instead of the spirit of love. He couldn’t follow the example standing in front of him.
So what exactly was Christ’s example? I don’t think it is coincidence that Mark’s account of this story makes the special effort to say Jesus loved this man. You see, at the very time the man stopped Jesus to ask the question of eternal life, Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. Let’s think about this for a second. When Jesus gave the young man his answer, he was already on his way to be crucified. While talking to this man, Jesus was in the process of surrendering everything he had to God so that this man could be saved. What better example could there have been of loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself?
How do you keep from pitching a no-hitter and losing the game? Love God. Love others. That’s it.
Live The Mission,