Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Good Name

"A good name is to be desired above great riches." (Proverbs 22:1).

There is a man in the Bible whom we know much about -- but we do not know his name. He is simply referred to as "the rich young ruler." And here is what we know.

He was rich; secured with financial stability, and free from the anxiety of want. And he was young. His whole life lay before him; and, coupled with his wealth, the sky was the limit on what he could become, and achieve.

He was also a ruler. That means he held a position of power and influence. He was in charge, on top of things; always ready with a plan, an answer, a solution, or a new idea. We also know that he was devout. He was a good and decent man; a man of principle, and high morals. A man whose sense of duty to God and country kept him conscientious of his words and deeds.

So far, we know that he was rich, young, in charge, and devout. But we do not know his name. We do, however know two more things about this man.

First, despite the fact that he was rich, young, in charge, and devout -- we also know that he was unsatisfied with his life.

"Good Master," he said to Jesus, "what is it that I am lacking?" What a self-revealing question. And how true it is of so many who today possess wealth and position that, ever-present in the depths of their hearts is the gnawing realization that something is still missing.

When Jesus told the young man to give up everything he had and to come and follow Him, the nameless fellow could not do it. This brings us to the last thing we know about him -- He walked away from the Lord filled with sadness.

This was his life's defining moment -- an opportunity to walk into history with Jesus Christ. But he turned the offer down. And in so doing gave up a good and great name, which we surely would have known to this day had he said yes to Jesus. He would have been named among the favored followers of the Lord, and the exploits of his life would live on in the telling of the gospel story though all generations.

But he said no.

Well, I will leave you with this -- the offer is still on the table. Though this rich, young, ruling, devout, and unsatisfied man said no and walked away sad -- YOU can say yes. And we are all standing on tiptoe hoping that you will.


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