Their heart to heart begins with the man asking what he can do and Jesus responds that he should keep the commandments. Remember that until Jesus died the Law of Moses was the spiritual law that was in effect. The young man replied that he had done that and then asked the crucial question that each of us should ask each and every day of our lives. In verse 20 he says, “...what lack I yet?” You see, following God and Christ is not like many other things in life, which can be completed. Being a Christian is a life-long pursuit that is not finished until death. When we have learned our ABC’s, for example, we are done; we know them, and unless there is an accident or some severe illness that affects our mind and memory, we never have to learn them again. Many skills are that way and some of Christianity falls into that category as well, but unlike finishing school in the secular world we can’t graduate from Christianity.
The young man in our text probably thought things were going well when he asked this question. He was, apparently, a faithful Jew who thought he had kept the ten commandments and probably the whole law. Millions of people today think the same kind of way. We all want to believe that we have a good relationship with God whether we really do or not. Many have convinced themselves that because they joined one church or another, or their parents baptized them when they were little, or they live a good moral life, or any number of other similar reasonings there is nothing else necessary for them to please God and gain eternal life.
Christianity, however, is a race and not everyone who enters finishes. What’s more you can’t just go out and run down the street to be part of a race, you have to enter. Of course, races have rules and courses that must be followed without shortcuts. The Christian life is no different, and it is only concluded at death. We must always be working to correct sins, add virtues, increase knowledge and faith, and ask the tough questions. When we ask those tough questions we must be prepared for tough answers and have the courage and fortitude to respond. The young man in our story wasn’t prepared, and he lost the chance of heaven because of it.
What lack I yet? Jesus answer to this young man was that he needed to go sell his goods and give the money to the poor. He couldn’t respond. He asked the tough question, but when he got the tough answer he wasn’t prepared to do it. When we ask the question ‘what lack I yet’ and listen to Jesus’ teaching, we must make the change. The answer to that question will be different for us at different times and under different circumstances, and our feelings will never be a sufficient guide. We must look to the teaching that Jesus left for us in the Bible. What are you lacking, that is keeping you from having the best relationship possible with God?
I hope that you are enjoying these articles, and learning from them. If you have a Bible question you would like answered with a Bible answer, or if there is a Bible topic you would like to see covered, please write me at the address below.