The Rich Young Ruler

By Dan Blair, a marriage counselor and family counselor.

Maybe you have heard the story of the rich young ruler who asked Jesus what does he have to do to get to heaven. Jesus did not tell him to give ten percent; he told him to give away his belongings and follow him. The rich young ruler went away very sad. Still today there are many who strive to please their god, trying to attain an external standard instead of being internally driven. How might this rich young man respond if he understood Jesus when Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). Or what would he think when Jesus said the truth shall set you free (John 8:32)? How would he respond to Paul when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”? Or to Paul’s wish in Philemon 4, that “any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced”?

Some scholars believe that this rich young ruler later did follow Jesus. Jesus allowed him to go through a process, a change of heart.

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