Total Surrender Is the Beginning

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16

We often call him the “Rich Young Ruler.” He was all of these things. Though young, he had established himself as a leader in the Jewish community and had become quite wealthy. Besides that, he was morally upstanding, keeping God’s commandments from his youth. His concern for spiritual matters inspired him to run to Jesus, kneel at His feet, and ask the world’s most important question: “How can I have eternal life?”

The Lord’s love moved Him to tell the Rich Young Ruler the one thing he lacked: Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21). With laser insight, Jesus looked into the heart of the young man and identified the one thing that kept him from surrendering and following.

The Rich Young Ruler came to the right Person at the right time with the right question, and he got the right answer. His promising beginning makes the ending of the story all the more heartbreaking: “When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:22).

Imagine the scene as the young man got up from his knees and turned his back on Jesus. He had come face to face with the Son of God, he had been offered eternal life from the very lips of Jesus, and yet he walked away unhappy and unsaved. Why? Because he refused to surrender. The tragic account of the Rich Young Ruler reminds us of a simple but profound reality: If we are not following Jesus on terms of total surrender, then we are not following Jesus at all.

Have a great day, and keep moving forward!

Suggested Bible Reading

Matthew 19:16-22

Prayer Guide

Today as you pray ...

Ask the Lord to show you what He is calling you to surrender so that you can follow Him fully and closely.

Ask the Lord to empower you to lay aside habitual sins, ungodly attitudes, and selfish desires.

Surrender your plans, possessions, dreams, thoughts, and actions to Him.

Seek His kingdom today.