Ellen G. White Writings

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Humble Hero, Page 240

character and to sanctify it to the Master’s use. If the ruler had then given himself to Christ, how different would have been his future!

“You still lack one thing,” Jesus said. “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, 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 at the core of his life. If this lack went unfilled, it would prove fatal. His whole nature would become corrupted. In order for him to receive the love of God, he must surrender his supreme love of self.

Christ called for him to choose between heavenly treasure and worldly greatness. Self must yield; he must give his will into Christ’s control. The young ruler had the privilege of becoming a co-heir with Christ to the heavenly treasure. But he must take up the cross and follow the Savior in the path of self-denial.

The choice was left with him. Jesus had shown him the fatal spot in his character. If he decided to follow Christ, he must obey His words in everything. He must turn from his ambitious projects. With earnest, anxious longing, the Savior looked at the young man, hoping he would yield to the invitation of the Spirit of God.

Christ’s words were words of wisdom, though they appeared severe. The ruler’s only hope of salvation was in accepting and obeying them. His position and possessions were exerting a subtle influence for evil on his character. If he cherished them, they would replace God in his affections.

Did Jesus Demand Too Much?

The ruler, quick to understand all that Christ’s words involved, became sad. He was a member of the honored council of the Jews, and Satan was tempting him with flattering prospects for the future. He wanted the heavenly treasure, but he also wanted the advantages his riches would bring. He desired eternal life, but the sacrifice seemed too great, and he went away sorrowful, “for he had great possessions.”

His claim that he had kept the law of God was a deception. He showed that riches were his idol. He loved the gifts of God more than he loved the Giver. Christ had offered the young man fellowship with Himself. “Follow Me,” He said. But the Savior was not as valuable to him as his own name in society or his possessions. To give up the seen for the unseen was too great a risk. He refused the offer of eternal life and went away. Ever after the world would receive his worship. Thousands pass through this ordeal, weighing Christ against the world, and many choose the world.

Christ’s dealing with the young man contains lessons for us all. God has given us the rule of conduct that His servants must follow. It is obedience to His law—not merely a legal obedience, but an obedience that enters into the life and shows in the character. Only those who will say, “Lord, all I have and all I am is Yours,” will God acknowledge as His sons and daughters. Think of what it means to say No to Christ. The Savior offers to share with us the work that God has given us to do. Only in this way can He save us.

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