You still lack ONE Thing. sell Everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come and follow me. Luke 18:22
God doesn’t keep score like we do. We have been so bound by the idea of fairness and “good enough” that we miss the expectations of Christ.
Jesus’ call in Matthew 4 was “repent, the Kingdom is near”. That means turn around, go this way. But we ask “is this good enough?” Anything less than everything is not enough. This young man in Luke 18 comes to Jesus and says “what must I do?” Jesus says, “do? Well do what you have been told” Being doesn’t come from doing, but doing is a result of being. I follow and that causes me to Do what he desires. I don’t try to do, to be a follower, but I do because I am a follower.
This young man doesn’t get it. He says “I’ve done all of this my whole life.” i.e. I’m still not feeling it, so what is missing? Jesus says “one thing you lack.” Most of us start keeping score here. We say, “well good, I am almost making 100. I just lack ONE thing, that’s pretty good, right?” If we think this is about the 10 commandments, and he only lacks one thing, he’s making a 90, that’s a pretty good grade. “Thanks Jesus, see ya later, I’ll keep at it”
No, wait … you LACK (leipo – to be in need, fall short, be incomplete, to forsake, to be wanting, to be defeated)
There is a war going on and you lost one of the battles, you are incomplete, you fall short. When we fall short, what does Romans 3:23 call that? SIN .. missing the mark.
Jesus says the only way to remedy this problem is to “sell everything … give away” Reevaluate what you treasure and lift your eyes to treasure in heaven. What do you own? What do you treasure? This young man most likely struggled with materialism. His identity was wrapped up in possessions. I believe it is why Jesus used the word “treasure”. The word means “storeroom, repository”. Jesus elsewhere says not to “lay up our treasures in places where they can corrode, or be criminalized. If your treasure is in eternal things, then if someone takes something of earthly value, you can move on because you don’t find your worth, value, or identity in those things.
The word is Priority
In 1 Kings 19:19-21 … Elijah goes to Elisha to call him to follow him in serving God as a prophet. Elisha is running a big family farming business. he is overseeing 12 sets of oxen. That’s 24 plowing oxen. That’s 11 men working them plus he is working the 12th. That means a large number of fields. Elijah calls him out by laying his prophet’s mantel on him. God had commanded this. Elisha knows that this means. The call to come was a call to leave all you had. There is an immediacy of the call. He says, “let me kiss my father and mother … then I will come with you.” Cultural historians tell us that this phrase really meant “after my parents die and are buried, then I will go with you. Similarly in Luke 9:59, Jesus told a man to follow him and the man said “let me bury my Father”. Jesus said “let the dead bury the dead” Another said “let me say goodbye to my family.” And Jesus told him that if he looks back he isn’t FIT for the Kingdom. Again, both of these are talking about the idea of following him later, just not today. After my father is dead and gone, after my kinds are grown, after I retire … and Jesus says “sell it all, and follow me. What you lack is a Spirit to follow me”
So, Elisha says it … and Elijah just basically replies “fine then, go on back, what have I done but invite you into God’s plan?”
Elisha realized the call was a call for NOW and the past is gone, all things are new, no turning back. So Elisha did the right thing. He slaughtered his 24 oxen. He burned the plows. He cooked the mean and served to his men to eat … 1 Kings 19:21 says “then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant”
Jesus said in Luke 9 that when we set out with him there is no turning back.
Lord, what is the one thing I lack? Because where I lack, I am falling short and I want to be what you have called me. Jesus called those fishermen to be disciples. They pulled their boats up on shore, left their nets, and followed him. But sadly, we are like the man in Luke 9:57, “Lord I will follow wherever you go” but what we mean is “Lord where ARE you going, exactly?” “You have a place right?” Jesus told him “foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the son of man has no place to lay his head.”
Following is about FOLLOWING, not about the destination. Following is about the ONE we follow not WHERE he is taking us. So, Jesus told this young rich, religious seeker, “sell everything, and then you will lack nothing because I will be your source and substance. I will be your treasure and your treasure house.”
But when he heard, he was sad because he was wealthy. He was sad about what he was losing not joyful about what he was gaining. Oh Lord, may we not be sad and satisfied with trash and temporary satisfaction when you offer us treasure eternal. May we forsake all, sell all, empty ourselves, that we might lack nothing in our. As we leave all to gain all in Christ, Fill us with Joy!