Micah Choga, Stewardship Director, Southern Africa Indian Ocean Division
Summary: Are you concerned about your destiny? Stewardship Director Micah Choga talks about the encounter between Jesus and the rich young ruler recorded in Matthew 19:16-29, and he ends with the thought to allow nothing to stand between you and God.
Destiny is defined as a predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual. It is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed natural order to the cosmos!
Matthew 19:16-29 records an encounter between Jesus and the rich young man. The young man raised a serious question which may be termed “a question of destiny.” His question should actually be a question of every serious Christian. It was directed to the right person. The question paints a picture of seriousness on the part of the young man.
The young man asks, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" Matthew 19:16. Jesus focuses on the question of the young man, the response He gives surprises him. The reference to the commandments led the young man to the reaction, “which ones?” To the young man it appeared as though Jesus was talking about some set of commandments he was not aware of. It is strange that Jesus refers a Jew to the commandments. The life of a serious Jew was characterized by commandment keeping.
In verses 18-19 Jesus enumerates the six commandments that have to do with our human relationships. To which the young man responded by saying “all these I have kept.” Was he right by making such a claim? Did he really understand Himself?
In verse 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect go sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The response of Jesus, makes it appear as though He was now deviating from the subject under consideration, yet Jesus pursued the same subject from an angle that would assist the young man to discover that he had not kept the very commandments he claimed to have always kept. The statement from Jesus became a point of departure with the young man. It revealed his true character. It aroused feelings of anger and rejection of the counsel of the master.
Why did the young man react?
Many times we behave as though we love God, because our true selves have not yet been revealed. We tend to be devoted to our religion as long as it does not disturb us in those things that we cherish. We appear to want to be good when we are just parading ourselves. We sometimes appear to be genuine and serious in what we are doing until the Holy Spirit exposes our pretense.
Let us analyze this story. The young man came to the right place and left for the wrong place, came as one concerned about his destiny and left as one who did not care about his destiny, came asking the right questions but looking for flattery rather than the truth, came to the source of knowledge and left without true knowledge, came to the source of life and left without life, came happy and left sorrowful. He forgot that the gospel does not heal before it bruises, it does not comfort before causing some discomfort, it does not provide hope before exposing your hopelessness, neither does it establish you before it knocks you down.
What was the problem of the young man?
Wealth stood between him and his God. He had another God called his wealth. Covetousness caused him to turn against the Savior. He valued temporal things more than the permanent. “But he was not ready to accept the Savior’s principle of self-sacrifice. He chose his riches before Jesus. He wanted eternal life, but would not receive into the soul that unselfish love which alone is life, and with a sorrowful heart he turned away from Christ (Christ Object Lessons, p. 393.2).
Was Jesus fair with the young man?
Why would Jesus not require people like Abraham, David, and Job to sell all they had and follow Him? According to what we have established so far, Jesus was not requesting the young man to do anything strange. He Himself had walked the road of sacrifice. He was simply asking him to follow His footsteps. He was requesting Him to accept the cost of discipleship.
Are you concerned about your destiny? Then hearken to the advice from Jesus. You need to surrender yourself totally to Him and walk the road of sacrifice. Allow nothing to stand between you and God. Let not your wealth replace God in your life.