None but the Lord himself can afford us.  The more clearly we recognize how we dig our own wells in search of water, the more fully we can repent of our self-sufficiency and turn to God in obedient trust.

-Larry Crabb

 

Our independence day was the day we turned our back on ourselves and trusted Jesus—and that is our challenge each and every day.  The account of the young rich ruler can be heard in many pulpits on any given Sunday. Jesus tells of a young man he bumps into who was much like many of us—content with himself.  Essentially, Jesus rains on the young man’s feel-good-about-himself parade and tells him to go and sell all he has and give the money to the poor—that meant giving his cash to those who hadn’t worked nearly as hard or been a tenth as smart with their money as him.

The problem many of us encounter in our reading of the account of the young rich ruler is to take it as a call to forsake ourselves and then go and bury our heads in the proverbial sand. Make no mistake, Jesus brings a sword to life as we know it. But that’s not all he does, he calls us to follow him once we have turned our backs on ourselves.  And what seems to be the end of of our lives turns out to be only the beginning. 

The point in Jesus’ telling of this story isn’t to show that the man loved his money too much (we can be sure he did, just like many of us do)—the truth we must grasp here is that following Jesus is life.  When we choose our money—or anything including anyone else for that matter over following him—it is him we miss out on. 

 That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crest-fallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.   (Matthew 19:22, The Message Bible) 

When we stick with anything other than Jesus we always walk away sad.

The sin that held a good many of us captive and still keeps a good number from following Jesus is rooted in relying on themselves—we can be a self-sufficient people. Few of my friends if any won’t make it into heaven for being ax-murderers—instead—it’s an overblown belief in themselves and the idea that stealing a candy bar isn’t enough to land them in jail with God that is their undoing.  

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