Do you ever have those days when you wonder…what does God REALLY think of me? I mean, I know that the Bible says He loves us and all of that. But is there something that it is leaving out? Are there days when He has just had enough? Are there times when He secretly wishes He had never created us at all?
Yesterday I read a small line in Mark that I had somehow missed a few months ago when I read this chapter. Let me give you some important background info.
In chapter 10 there is this guy that has a question for Jesus. My Bible has a heading calling him “the rich young man”. In today’s world, I picture him in a dark suit, white shirt, red tie doing deals on Wall Street. He has a condo on the top floor of a sharp New York building with a Porsche parked in his designated spot below. His Rolex makes a statement to all that he has in fact, acheieved success.
Note that the heading is not “the foolish, rich, young man”; just rich young man.
So, he comes up to Jesus with a HUGE question: “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”. Jesus replies “Why do you call me good? No one is good – except God alone. You know the ten commandments; ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.”
I am sure he was quite happy to answer back, “Done that”.
Then comes verse 21. “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”
Why is that detail put in here? Did Jesus look at him and love him because of all of those great rules he kept? I really doubt it. I think he looked at him and loved him because of what Jesus would share with him next.
“One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Jesus knew exactly what He was asking. “Give it all; give up what you think gives you signficance; what makes you valuable and come and find true life and freedom in Me.”
I think that Jesus looked at him and loved him out of compassion, mercy and pity. He knew that the rich, young man was “trying hard”. He knew the hold that money had him and He knew that money was Jesus’ competion for the man’s heart.
The Bible could have shared with us any number of emotions that Jesus felt toward this young man. Disappointment, frustration, anger. But instead, it shows us His heart…love. His love wants the young man to experience freedom. He knows the young man will not.
This passage gives me hope. It gives me hope that when Jesus looks at me and sees the things that I struggle with each day, He still loves me. He is completely aware of what has my attention; what pulls at me day in and day out and yet His love is never changing; never failing. Unconditional.
The rich young ruler upon hearing what Jesus required of him, became sad. It says, “At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
Many say that experience is the best teacher. I have heard that experience is an expensive teacher. We don’t have to experience a life wasted on things that are here today and gone tomorrow. Knowing He loves us and how great and deep that love is, let it compell us to leave it all to the One who loves us so!