17 As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”

18-19 Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.”

20 He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!”

21 Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”

22 The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.

23-25 Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?” The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult. I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.”

26 That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.

27 Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.”

Mark 10, MSG

I had planned on writing about this great song I heard for the first time last week.  I was beaming last week as I listened to it; everything seemed so heavenly and beautiful and I was ready to write out some feel good words.  But…

Here I had been thinking of all these wonderfully mission-minded scriptures; another, “give it all away and embrace more of Him” sermonette.  But…Jesus.  He still sees hearts and lives and He just knows what we really need to know.

I’ve always read the above passage with materials and money in mind, and that is the context.  But, it’s the context because that’s what had the Rich Young Ruler’s heart – that’s what he needed to count and decide if Christ was enough; if Jesus was worth the trade. Some things that have always stood out to me:

~the guy, he really had every good intention and he really intended to follow Jesus

~Jesus looked at him and loved him

~the guy was willing to let go of everything…except the one thing that would give Jesus every part of himself

~the disciples were still thinking people needed to do something/have something in order to be a part of Jesus’ kingdom

~Jesus states the standard that’s supposed to free us but all too often trips us up: you can’t, God can

I’ve always thought, “Well, Lord, I am not a rich young ruler and You know I’m willing to give it all up (materially) and go but you don’t seem to want that from me.”  So, not my scripture, I guess.  Then, you know, Jesus.  I just didn’t get that Jesus wasn’t looking at the guy’s clothes and money pouch; He was looking at him the way He always looks at people – in the heart.

We aren’t all Rich Young Rulers, but we all have heart issues.  We aren’t all RYR’s, but He looks at us all and loves us and He sees the “one thing required.”  So you’re not a RYR, but you are a/an

~stubborn teen with a hot head and a hard heart

~wife who wants the picture perfect family that other girl has

~husband who wants the financial security of that guy who chose a different career path

~exhausted mother who is elated, depressed, happy, angry

~father who wants to do it all right but knows that he doesn’t, so he’s hiding

~wife who thinks when she vowed to “help” him, she had no idea it would look like this

~husband who thinks when he vowed to “honor” her, he had no idea it would be this hard

~wife who sits wounded amidst her children, wondering if he’ll ever come back

~husband who holds his kids close, wondering how he’s going to tell them she’s not

~foreigner in this land you’re in, wondering why all that was holding you up and together has been stripped away from you

~couple trying to put it all back together again while everything seems to crumble in front of you despite your efforts

~human walking with a disease or with the diseased

~…a someone, an anyone…

Here I thought counting the cost was something like materials, people, places, comforts; I had no idea that the thing required of me might dwell within.  I didn’t realize that He’d want me to count these too and trade

~my bad attitudes and selfish thoughts and emotions for Him

~all my earthly picture perfects and longings for Him

~all my earthly ideas of responsibility and significance for Him

~all my emotions…even the warranted, understandable ones, for Him

~all my secrets for Him

~all of my ideals and fears and hurts and…hell…for Him

~all of my weaknesses for Him

~all of my security – my earthly dependence for Him

~all of my failures…even the ones that keep coming, for Him

~all of my health for Him

~all…no really, ALL, inside and out, for Him

The disciples pointed out all they had left for Him, and Jesus told them of the rewards He had for them.  But, He didn’t tell them right there all they had left to surrender to Him; He knew they’d find out.  He also knew He’d always be there looking at them, loving them, hoping they’d always find Him worth it because He understood. He knew what it would require – it would be required of Him, and in then end, He thought we were worth it.

So, I’ll say “Yes,” when it is my delight and my ideal and I’ll say “Yes” when it’s my worst nightmare and I bleed and I’ll believe Him:

 “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.

Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.”

I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind
And follow You


I’ll walk the narrow road
‘Cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace
Will pick me up again

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh, I’ve counted up the cost
Yes, I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it

I do not need safety
As much as I need You
You’re dangerous
But Lord, You’re beautiful

I’ll chase You through the pain
I’ll carry my cross
‘Cause real love
Is not afraid to bleed

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh, I’ve counted up the cost
Yes, I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it

Take my all
Jesus, take my all
Take my everything
I’ve counted up the cost
And You’re worth everything

“The Cost” by Rend Collective