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“Making the Impossible Possible”
In this encounter, Jesus is saying that there is something radically wrong with allof us—but money has particular power to blind us to it. In fact, it has so much power to deceive us of our true spiritual state that we need a gracious, miraculous intervention from God to see it. It’s impossible without God, without a miracle. Without grace.
Consider how Jesus counseled this young man. Yes, this man needed counseling, though on the outside he looked completely pulled together. He was rich, he was young, and he was probably good-looking—it’s hard to be rich and young and not be good-looking. But he didn’t have it all together. If he had, he would never have come to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Any devout Jew would have known the answer to this question. The rabbis were always posing this question in their writings and their teachings. And their answer was always the same; there were no differing schools of thought on this one. The answer was “Obey the statutes of God and avoid all sin.” The young man would have known this answer. Why then was he asking Jesus?
Jesus’s perceptive statement “One thing you lack” allows us to capture the gist of the young man’s struggle. The man was saying, “You know what, I’ve done everything right: I’ve been successful economically, successful socially, successful morally, successful religiously. I’ve heard you’re a good rabbi, and I’m wondering if there’s something I’ve missed, something I’m overlooking. I sense that something is lacking.”
Of course he was missing something. Because anyone who counts on what they are doing to get eternal life will find that, in spite of everything they’ve accomplished, there’s an emptiness, an insecurity, a doubt. Something is bound to be missing. How can anyone ever know whether they are good enough?
How can you pursue a successful career and not succumb to the trap wealth creates? What are some ways the gospel has changed—or could change—your attitude about money?
Excerpt from JESUS THE KING by Timothy Keller
Reprinted by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2011 by Timothy Keller
And from JESUS THE KING STUDY GUIDE by Timothy Keller and Spence Shelton, Copyright (c) 2015 by Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishers.