Since the beginning, when man fell in the garden, they fell because they were looking for that one thing. That one thing was to “have it all.” When Satan tempted Eve with the fruit that God had clearly said “if you eat it you shall die,” he did so with the words:
Genesis 3:4-5 KJV
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
It was the only thing in the garden that God said they couldn’t have. Not because He wanted it for Himself, but because He knew that it would lead to their destruction. The knowledge gained by that fruit was the lust of the flesh. Once their eyes were opened to sin, nothing would satisfy them. It would drive their son to kill his brother, their descendants to sleep with their children, then to kill their children. Everything in life would be justifiable in the eyes of man. If you want it, take it. Do it. Never look back.
Why is that man’s mentality?
I see that sin in my own life far more than I care to confess. I love “stuff.” Not powerful stuff, not even stuff anyone else would probably care for. But I’m like the magpie. It is said within European culture that magpies are attracted to shiny objects and routinely steal small trinkets such as jewelry. I’m not going to steal jewelry, but I confess to have a fetish for what I call junk jewelry, that of a costume persuasion. To the point my husband had to make me a new jewelry box to hold my “treasures” because I ran out of room in the old one.
But in Luke 18, Jesus spoke with a man who probably wasn’t into “junk.” He had acquired great wealth. But he knew enough to know that he lacked one thing that he could not provide himself. Eternal life. So he has this conversation with Jesus and just flat out asks Him,z “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
What I realized when I read the response of Christ, is that Christ doesn’t miss a word in our conversations with Him.
Luke 18:18-23 KJV
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.  And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.  Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.  And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
Jesus started right from the beginning to unpack their conversation. “Why callest thou me good?”
The ruler had obviously seen something in the way Jesus lived that made Him stand out. People were no doubt watching every move He made, especially the Pharisees, hoping He would mess up. But He never did! You can watch me five minutes and I can almost guarantee that within that time frame I’ll mess up. But Jesus’ life was so perfect that the ruler trusted Him to answer the question everyone wants to know, “How can I have eternal life.” But Jesus called him to task, saying, “none is good, save one, that is, God.”
Jesus took that one word from the man’s conversation and asks him if He really realizes Who it is that he’s talking to?
Jesus isn’t satisfied with our minuscule conversations. He wants those in-depth consultations where we’re on the couch of the Creator and letting Him delve into the depth of our hearts. He knew the ruler was a “good” man in the eyes of the world. He was keeping the law as best he could. He was doing everything right and yet the ruler still knew something was missing.
Imagine me, who in all my life has seemed to do everything wrong, going my own way, asking God forgiveness far more times than permission and then I too want the peace of Heaven. We all want that one thing! I know many good people who lack it. This ruler was one. Because when Jesus told him to sell all he had and follow him, the ruler went away sad. There is no movie moment where he comes to his senses and returns to Christ, throwing his wealth down at the feet of Jesus, or dropping it off at the Salvation Army on the way back. No, it just says that he was very sorrowful.
Jesus knew that at the heart of this man’s issue was his “stuff.” He wasn’t willing to just trust Christ to provide everything he needed.
I guess the good thing about having junk jewelry is you don’t mind giving it up. But there was plenty of other stuff I tried to bring along for the journey. I’ve had many conversations and consultations with the Lord where He has shown me that I’m not willing to give up everything.
That’s what drew me out of bed at 2 a.m. and into the word of God this morning. I heard the Lord saying “Shari, we need to talk.” And no matter how hard I tried, sleep wasn’t going to happen. I knew my recent conversations with the Lord had been fleeting. Short, minuscule moments of time that I spoke to Him as if He was an acquaintance, not my Savior. I would offer up the excuse that I was busy, tired, working, etc. and it all boiled down to the same issue that the ruler had. Only he was richer. I was not wanting to sell all I had. To give up those things that made me happy or brought a sense of worldly value to my life. But then I heard Christ say, “What good is any of it, if I’m not the center of it.”
Without Him it’s just hay and stubble and will burn up when I stand before Him in eternity.
I was saved in 1996. I had the conversion where I gave my life to Christ and began following Him. I’m still following Him! But not without the occasional detour of the mind that causes me to lose focus on what’s important. That one thing! That one thing is the eternal hope of Glory that will allow me to live in eternity with the people I love, having to never separate myself from them again. It allows me to have peace on this messed up ball of dirt, while my spirit is in the hands of God in Heaven.
The conversion didn’t prevent failure, but it prevents forfeiture. My soul is safe! Not even I can mess that up.
I need a few more “wake ups” where God gets my attention and reminds me that I have purpose, and it’s for His Glory!