Sell everything you have… then come and follow me!
When he heard this, he became very sad,
because he was very wealthy.
Jesus looked at him… .
Jesus has nothing against money. He is only opposing same if it is separating us from God, seizes all our attention. We should not have other gods! For this reason Jesus is so strict, so “unmerciful” with this rich man. He sees his bondage, his dangerous dependency, false security. He knows, that his richness separates him from the Kingdom of Heaven. In comparison with the richness of heaven the greatest worldly wealth is nothing. Should he lose heaven for dollars, for securities, and shares? Jesus wanted to save him, it is about life or death, all or nothing. Therefore He has to be so harsh, so uncompromising. As mentioned above Jesus looked at him with deep love. All that was too much for the rich man who went away very sad.
I personally believe that the Spirit of God continued to work on him. He will have some sleepness nights, and have struggled with himself: Much money or the Kingdom of God. The spirit of God will not have give him rest. Jesus will have prayed for him until he gave up and the chains of worldly richness broke apart. Money will then have become unimportant for him and he will have seeked only the peace, the joy in Jesus. Jesus already will have waited for him, will have embraced him as a Friend of sinners. From now on God will have provided for him, will have made him happy and free of worries.
Sometime we feel sorry for people who do not understand this hardness, reject this uncompromising. We then tend to lighten their agony and offer compromises. However, by that we do nothing but hinder the work of Jesus in His struggle of his soul. No, we have to be patient and trust that the spirit of God will act. We are not allowed to intervene, to shorten the fight even when it is a heavy one and the birth of insight is difficult. But prayers are always helpful. God will succeed. We may trust Him. He will examine and change everything, make everything new, will forgive all sins. How hard will it be for those who do not trust him and make “shortcuts”.
Lord, I do not want to hinder You in Your work of help. Please forgive my wrong pity when you are at work. Help me that I trust You more and do not intervene. Thank You, that You are not making compromises with sin, death, and the devil. You are a fortress, a rock in midst of a rough sea.