“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Matthew 19:17
The story of the young rich man has always intrigued me. I would compare him to the older brother of the prodigal son parable. I feel both of them got so close but remained yet so far. Both stories bring utter conviction to me but the good news is that Christ “loved him” and loves all of our petty efforts in reaching out to Him. In this case, the rich young ruler went away sorrowful. He was bought into the “schooling of Christ” but aborted the mission. When Jesus lists all the commandments the ruler didn’t have any problem saying he obeyed them but yet he asks “what lack I yet”? Something inside his belly knew things were amiss. We Christians are not suppose to treat our relationship with Christ as if it is some “checklist”. I prayed- check. Tithed- check- brought back the grocery cart to the cart place-check and we could go on and on. Everything I just mentioned is the lesser things-even the Ten Commandments are in the list of the lesser things in our life. Because we didn’t commit murder today do we feel the need to be rewarded? I certainly hope not! But we see Jesus answered in a amazing way- “if thou want to be perfect……
PERFECT! Who said anything about being perfect? The word perfect means complete in all it’s parts-finished, having no part wanting. So it really isn’t about a list of do’s and dont’s? Jesus went onto to say to him, that there is one thing that is wanting, that you lack for you are not complete, proportionate, or finished. It is not enough to “just do good” but we read in 1Jn 2:5, “Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.” That is, the keeping of the word of God is the carrying out, or completion, of the love of God. If we will be perfect, complete, make the obedience complete. Job was said to be perfect, Job 1:1; not that he was sinless, for he is afterwards reproved by God, Job 38:1-40:4 but because his religion was proportional, or had a completeness of parts. We find that he was a good father, a honest magistrate, a giving neighbor, a upright citizen. His religion was not confined to one thing, but extended to all. Paul even prayed that we would be perfect and complete desiring nothing.
So WHAT LACK I YET? Don’t walk away sorrowful as the rich ruler did or abort your journey should you encounter difficult times and sorrow. He will perfect that which concerns you. The disciples were blown away at Jesus demand of forsaking all. His answer back still pertains to us today-“ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD”!