This “bad business decision” is one made by many people every day. And especially by those who think they have a lot to lose.
“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? ….Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Mark 10:17-23)
Here was a man with a need. If he had no need, he would not have come to Jesus’ shop. But come he did, and he came running at that. He even knelt down as he asked for direction and advice from a one who he knew was a renowned figure.
And make no mistake about it. He came to the right place. Jesus had the product he needed.
Jesus looked at him, listened to him, and loved him. And then gave him a sales pitch. Now I know some people don’t like the idea of a sales pitch when it comes to Jesus, God, or religion. Give me a break, and suffer it for a moment! I believe that the best businesses are those that solve problems and meet needs. This guy clearly had a problem and a need. And Jesus was clearly in the business of solving problems and meeting needs! Don’t let the analogy ruin a good story here!
Jesus, like any good business, looked, listened, made an assessment, and then issued his pitch and proposal. Let’s consider Jesus’ feedback this way: You’re a pretty good guy. I like you. In fact I love you. You’ve done a lot of the right things, and you’re apparently pretty smart and talented. You’ve got a lot of things going for you, and you answered my questions pretty well. But, if you want what I have to offer, and what you say you are looking for, here’s my advice. My proposal. And it comes with a price. “Go, sell all you have, give it to the poor, and come back and follow me. And then you will have treasure in heaven.”
Ok. I admit, “all that you have” is a pretty large price tag. But then, really good products are often well worth the price. But, as they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Some people will pay huge sums of money for pieces of junk, or for rocks of the earth (I think they call them diamonds?), while others would pay nothing for the same items because they do not want, feel a need for, or value them.
This guy was given the opportunity of a lifetime! To be with Jesus Christ personally. To know Him, learn from him, and follow Him into eternity. His need and wants could all have been met. All he needed to do was accept the offer, and pay the price. But, he considered the price too much. And, he left this business meeting with a couple of things: his possessions intact, his money in the bank, and his sadness.
Too bad he did not know a good deal when he saw one.
I wonder how many people every day are making bad business decisions before God. How many keep their sadness, stress, fears… and possessions of course… because they think God might be ripping them off of something?
I would suggest that knowing God, having peace and joy, and no fear of death, and the knowledge of treasure in the next life is worth any price. Any price. Jesus paid the ultimate price to make it possible. He had His priorities right.