In Matthew 19:16-26 we are told the story of the rich young ruler. Here was a man who believed in God, followed His commandments and wanted to know what else he needed to ensure his salvation. Let’s take a look at the conversation this young man had with Jesus.
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The young man needed to be willing to give up everything for follow Jesus. In one more week, I will have been unemployed for nine months. The story of the rich young ruler cuts a bit closer to my heart than I care to admit. You see, While I have followed Jesus since I was a teenager, I also followed success and climbed the career ladder. While I had attributed my success to God, there was always a part of me that would just work harder and longer to get the results. Even when Jesus gave me a book to write, I would quickly shelve it to focus on my job. Finally, God had enough of my procrastinating and took me out of my job and upended my career. It was only then where I realized I had not given Him everything.
It is a humbling admission that I am out of work and am having to rely on God everyday for my provision. Jesus helped me see I was serving two masters. Clearly, He is a jealous God and doesn’t want to share us with anything. As an American, who has bought into the American dream, this concept is particularly difficult. We are born to work hard and get everything we desire. We should have it our way and whenever we want. We should be able to shop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and have it shipped to our door the same day. Isn’t it about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
God has different plans. When He needs to get our attention, He will do radical things like moving you to a new city and taking away your job. So here I was ten months into a new job, having moved my family, finding myself waking up without a job. In my arrogance, I figured it would only take a couple of months. Besides, I would get 2-3 calls a week from headhunters asking me if I would be interested in a role. Even if it took a couple of months, I should be set to save my severance payment and start a new job immediately. Well, God had other ideas. He wanted to break the pride from my life. He wanted to get me to the point of only serving Him. That meant, no job and having to rely on Him everyday.
Why it has been difficult, I have a better relationship with Jesus than ever before. I am also finding He is putting me in situations where I can encourage others who are in the same boat as I am. Unemployment is no fun and can wreak havoc on a man’s psyche. But God! If it were not for Jesus, I have no idea how I would have made it this long. So here I am coming up on nine months with nothing solid in sight. What I do have is my eyes fully on Jesus and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He will provide for my family. I have to give it ALL over to Him and by doing that, I have become free.