From Heaven With Love


Chapter 57—The Rich Young Ruler Lacked One Thing

This chapter is based on Matthew 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23.

“And when He was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” HLv 346.1

This young man, a ruler, had great possessions and a position of responsibility. He saw the love Christ manifested toward the children, and his heart kindled with love for the Saviour. He was so deeply moved that He ran after Christ and, kneeling at His feet, asked with sincerity and earnestness the question so important to his soul and to every human being. HLv 346.2

“Why callest thou Me good?” said Christ, “there is none good but One, that is, God.” Jesus desired to draw from him the way in which he regarded Him as good. Did he realize that the One to whom he was speaking was the Son of God? What was the true sentiment of his heart? HLv 346.3

This ruler had a high estimate of his own righteousness, yet he felt the want of something he did not possess. Could Jesus bless him and satisfy his soul want? HLv 346.4

In reply, Jesus told him that obedience to the commandments of God was necessary if he would obtain eternal life. The ruler's answer was positive: “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” HLv 346.5

Christ looked into the face of the young man, as if reading his life and searching his character. He loved him and hungered to give him peace and joy. “One thing thou lackest: go sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” HLv 346.6

Christ was drawn to this young man. The Redeemer longed to create in him that discernment to see the necessity of heart devotion. He longed to see in him a humble and contrite heart, hiding its lack in the perfection of Christ. HLv 347.1

Jesus saw in this ruler just the help He needed in the work of salvation. If he would place himself under Christ's guidance, he would be a power for good. Christ, seeing into his character, loved him. Love for Christ was awakening in the ruler's heart, for love begets love. Jesus longed to see him a coworker with Him. He longed to develop the excellence of his character, and sanctify it to the Master's use. If the ruler had then given himself to Christ, how different would have been his future! HLv 347.2

“One thing thou lackest,” Jesus said. “Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.” Christ read the ruler's heart. Only one thing he lacked, but that was a vital principle. He needed the love of God in the soul. This lack, unless supplied, would prove fatal. His whole nature would become corrupted. That he might receive the love of God, his supreme love of self must be surrendered. HLv 347.3

Christ called upon him to choose between heavenly treasure and worldly greatness. Self must yield; his will must be given into Christ's control. The young ruler had the privilege of becoming a coheir with Christ to the heavenly treasure. But he must take up the cross and follow the Saviour in the path of self-denial. HLv 347.4

The choice was left with him. Jesus had shown him the plague spot in his character. If he decided to follow Christ, he must turn from his ambitious projects. With earnest, anxious longing, the Saviour looked at the young man, hoping he would yield to the invitation of the Spirit of God. HLv 347.5

Christ's words were words of wisdom, though they appeared severe. In accepting and obeying them was the ruler's only hope of salvation. His position and possessions were exerting a subtle influence for evil on his character. If cherished, they would supplant God in his affections. HLv 347.6