This week I’m planning to take a look at three different verses containing the same phrase—“one thing”—yet each occurrence conveys a very different meaning. It is my prayer that this week’s series of messages will prove as instructive as they are inspirational.
Here are the three passages:
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” [Jesus] said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)
“Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
Today we will look at the account of the rich young ruler, whom Jesus instructed about the “one thing lacking” in Mark 10:21. To the watching world, this man had it all together. Certainly, today’s society would regard him as a Very Important Person:
- He was rich.
- He was young.
- He was a ruler.
This man would have been on the top of everybody’s party invitation list; he had everything going for Him! No doubt many of our churches would be scrambling to enlist him in a position of leadership.
Even when you look at the man’s spiritual condition, there was a great deal that seemed commendable, at least in his outward actions. Mark 10:17 relates that . . .
- The man ran up to Jesus (earnestly seeking an audience with Him).
- He knelt before Him (demonstrating humility and reverence).
- He addressed Jesus as “Good Teacher” (a sign of respect).
Yet with all he apparently had going for him, the penetrating eye of our Savior discerned that there was one thing lacking in his life. This rich young ruler had everything a man could ever want except the one thing he truly needed: a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We know this because Mark’s account reports that after Jesus had spoken, “The man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Mark 10:22).
You see, the problem for this rich young ruler was not that he had great possessions; rather it was what possessed him. His stuff was more important to him than his Savior. He was utterly unwilling to give up his possessions and take up his cross and follow Jesus. This “one thing lacking” was the only thing he truly needed: Jesus as Savior and Lord over his life.
So . . . do you feel that there might be one thing lacking in your life? I hope you’ll be back for the next two blogs. We’ll be looking at this concept some more!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!