“When the young man heard this, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:22)
Some Scriptures sag beneath the weight of regret-filled words. Encumbered with misgivings, a scent of deep sadness seeps through the verses like a vine overloaded with fruit too burdensome to bear.
In one unforgettable scene, we meet a young man as he approaches Christ with the question, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16) No wiser question has ever been asked, no wiser counsel ever sought.
Face to face with the Son of God, one on one with the Master Teacher, the young man’s self-importance prevents him from accepting divine directions. Jesus lays out an exact prescription for his malady, explaining all he needs to know to follow him and find life eternal.
The man’s response to Christ is pitiful indeed. “When the young man heard this, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” We want to beckon to him, prevent him from making this tragic mistake. We long to say, “Turn back. The King himself is giving you the keys to unlock the doorway to heaven.” But, we are incapable of rescuing this young man. Even Christ the Messiah let him walk away, never forcing him to accept his perfect plan. The lessons learned make us mindful of the questioning ones who travel our way. We are called to direct them to Jesus as the source of life eternal, to share his Word and the great plan revealed for all.
At the same time, we are reminded to leave the outcome to Him.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell