Pastor’s sermon this past Sunday concerned the story in Mark 10:17-22 of the rich young ruler and his quest to inherit eternal life. He assured Jesus, as they spoke, that he had everything that was covered in commandments 6 through 10—those that deal with our relationships to each other– under control in his life.
Chapter 4 of Proverbs was part of my Scripture reading today, but I thought about that rich young ruler as I focused in on verses 13-27:
Proverbs 4:13-27 New International Version (NIV)
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. 14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. 16 For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. 17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
20 My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 24 Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
You see, the rich young ruler had wealth, but what he lacked was wisdom. Wisdom to know that he had seen the words of the commandments with his eyes, but where those words needed to be was deep inside his heart.
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (NIV)
Matthew 12:34 The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (NIV)
The rich young ruler was so close, but yet so far from where he needed to be. He had “head knowledge”. What he lacked was “heart knowledge”. Had he truly studied those commandments from the time he was a child, he would have received a deeper revelation of salvation. It is not about the ritual of the study, it is about the relationship that results from the study. And that relationship with our Father God is the most rewarding relationship one can have.
I don’t have an earthly father anymore, but that doesn’t deter me from living my life as well as I can. More than anything, I want my Heavenly Father to be proud of me and how I’ve conducted my relationship, both with other people and with Him. At the end of the day, it’s what and who we set our hearts on.