The Youth’s Instructor


May 27, 1897

“One Thing Thou Lackest”

Part 2.


The experience of the young ruler who valued his riches above the heavenly treasure is presented to us as an object-lesson. It contains a lesson for us all. The young man turned from Christ, saying, inwardly, “I will not have this man as my leader.” Christ was not as much to him as his possessions or his name among men. He rejected the offer of eternal life, and went away, refusing to follow Jesus; and ever afterward, the world was to receive his worship. YI May 27, 1897, par. 1

Thousands are passing through this experience, weighing Christ against the world, and many choose the world. Every invitation refused makes the heart harder. Seeds of resistance are sown that will bring a harvest of resistance. YI May 27, 1897, par. 2

But what a price Christ paid to make it possible for this young man to obtain salvation! He stepped down from the throne of honor, laid off his royal robe and his royal crown, gave back into his Father's hand the scepter, and veiling divinity with humanity, humbled himself, and came to a world all seared and marred with the curse. “For your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” Although he was the Majesty of heaven, he bore the cross of shame. YI May 27, 1897, par. 3

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Notwithstanding his glory, his exalted character, and his position as commander in high heaven, where he was equal with God, in order to bring the precious gift of eternal life and immortality to the fallen race, he “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” YI May 27, 1897, par. 4

Think of the elevation, the glory, the majesty that Christ, the only begotten Son of God, possessed! Yet he condescended to leave all this. In behalf of man he descended, step by step in the path of humiliation. He knew, as no human being can know, the elevation from which he descended to become a man among men. He was compassed about with poverty. Although rich, for our sake he became poor, that we, through his poverty, might enjoy eternal riches. YI May 27, 1897, par. 5

“Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” Christ humbled himself. In him the infinite and the finite met in a close and mysterious union. Deity was veiled with humanity. The Creator stooped to the created. God was manifest in the flesh. YI May 27, 1897, par. 6

Having become man's substitute and surety, Christ felt a longing of soul, a hunger, for the accomplishment of the salvation of the human race. To rescue them he came to this world, that by humbling himself, he might reach man in his fallen condition. And when man accepts the great salvation, and becomes a co-worker with God, Christ rejoices. Love returned makes glad the heart of Christ. Those who obey his words become sons and daughters of God. Blessings flow through Christ to them, and their influence draws others to him. YI May 27, 1897, par. 7

God has given us the rule of conduct which every servant of Jesus Christ must follow. It is obedience to his law, not merely a legal obedience, but an obedience which enters into the entire life, and is exemplified in the character. God has set his own standard of character for all who would become subjects of his kingdom. Those who can and will say, “Lord, all I have, and all I am, is thine,” will be given grace and fortitude to come out from the world and be separate. They will be acknowledged as sons and daughters of God, members of the royal family, children of the Heavenly King. The light of the Sun of Righteousness will shine upon their pathway. YI May 27, 1897, par. 8

All should consider what it means to desire heaven, and yet to turn away from Christ because of the conditions laid down. Think of what it means to say “No” to Christ! The ruler said, “No, I cannot give you all.” Is this what you say? Christ offers to share with you the work that God has given you to do. He offers to use the means that God has given you to carry forward his work in our world. Only in this way can he save you. YI May 27, 1897, par. 9

The world's policy is to acquire money and advantages in any way that they can be obtained. An accumulation of this world's treasure is the ambition of worldlings. But the object of the followers of our Lord Jesus Christ is to become Christlike by self-denial and self-sacrifice. They keep their eyes on the eternal riches, which they can obtain by renouncing earthly treasure. They heed the words, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” They keep Christ in view, following where he leads. YI May 27, 1897, par. 10

Why cannot we learn the methods and results of Christ's life-practise? We may never have opportunity to do great things, we may never be required to make sublime sacrifices; but the greatest victory we can gain is to follow Jesus. What does the great Teacher say?—“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Every day that Christ lived in our world was for him a day of self-denial. If we would follow him over the rugged path of self-denial, we must commence with the earliest years of our life to deny self, and this denial must be carried into the every-day occurrences and actions of life. YI May 27, 1897, par. 11

In the name of Jesus I would entreat those who, because of their high position and their possessions, think themselves more favored of God than their fellow men are, to learn in the school of Christ the lesson given to the young ruler. Many thousands have followed his example, and, turning away from the heavenly treasure, have chosen earthly riches. But who can afford to do this? “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” YI May 27, 1897, par. 12

“If any man come to me,” Christ declared, “and hate not [love less than God] his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Again Christ declares, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” YI May 27, 1897, par. 13

This is God's claim. He will accept nothing less than this. He is God. He is our Creator. We are bought with a price, and what a price,—even the precious blood of the only begotten Son of God! God owns us. By creation and by redemption we are his. He holds out the only terms upon which we can be saved. We are to love God with all our heart and mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. Only whole-hearted service will be accepted by God, and for this life-service he gives us all heaven. “Therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” YI May 27, 1897, par. 14

In fulfilling God's claims, we are only giving back to him his own. All who would be saved must do this. It is essential for all who would possess heaven's treasure to understand and practise this principle. It may seem to those who, like the young man, are in high positions of trust and have great possessions, that it is too much to give up all and follow Christ. But this is the rule of conduct for all who would win heaven. To be a Christian is to become a disciple of Christ. This means obedience, and nothing short of this will be accepted. Self-surrender is the substance of the teachings of Christ. Often is it presented and enjoined in language that seems authoritative, because there is no other way to save man than to cut away those things which, if entertained, will demoralize the whole being. YI May 27, 1897, par. 15

When Christ's followers return to the Lord his own, they receive a blessing; for they are accumulating treasure which will be given to them when they shall hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy of seeing souls redeemed—souls eternally saved—is the privilege of those who overcome obstacles in order to put their feet in the footprints of him who said, “Follow me.” YI May 27, 1897, par. 16

By refusing to follow Christ, we lose our hope of eternal life. Christ's claims may be regarded indifferently, they may be neglected and ignored; but they are still binding. Our service is due to him who has bought us. Over and over again men act out their own will and way. They deny and reject Christ. They betray and crucify him afresh; but his claims remain just the same. The standard of character which men must reach is the same that it has been from the foundation of the world. YI May 27, 1897, par. 17

Mrs. E. G. White