“Jesus fixed his gaze upon the man, with tender love, and said to him ‘Yet there is still one thing in you lacking…’” (Mark 10:21)
In Mark, chapter 10, we read about a man who had a problem—one he probably didn’t realize he had. This man was young and wealthy. One day, he came running to Jesus, knelt in front of him, and asked what he must do to have eternal life.
Jesus said, “You already know the commandments.” The man knew the Jewish law well and carefully obeyed them. To look at him, one would think he had it made. He was successful. He didn’t steal, commit adultery, lie, or cheat. And he was in the right place, kneeling at the feet of Jesus.
He probably expected a pat on the back and kind words. What he actually received must have shocked him to his core.
Jesus gazed at the young man with genuine love and with deep understanding of his heart. Jesus told him he lacked one thing. Jesus didn’t say what the one thing was, but gave him instructions: “Go and sell everything, give the money to the poor, and return and follow me.”
The young man loved his possessions too much. He knew the next step he needed to take. But he couldn’t do it.
He hung his head, turned, and walked away. It’s like being diagnosed with a disease and prescribed a pill that will restore us to full health but choosing to walk away, choosing disease instead of healing. This young man chose his to keep his problem.
We know nothing else about the young man’s life, but we know he chose his stuff instead of his next step. He chose his stuff instead of restoration.
Friend, no one knows how to make us whole except Jesus. We can’t fix ourselves. Honestly, most of the time we don’t even know for sure what needs fixing. We struggle with unforgiveness, depression, anger, and so much more. We desperately need Jesus. We need to run to him, kneel at his feet, ask what we’re lacking, where we’re coming up short, and how we can move from where we are toward where we could be.
When we do, he’ll look at us with genuine love. And he’ll give us a next step. While change sometimes happens instantly, more often it is a process. Jesus’s part in the process is to direct us to our next step. Our part is to obey, to actually do what we know he wants us to do. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s not what we expected. And even when it costs us something.
It’s by taking one step, and then another, that we transform into the person God created us to be. Be wise. Be brave. Take that next step.
Dear God, examine my heart. Look at my life. Where do I need to change? What issues do I need to deal with? And, Lord, what is my next step? I believe you have a purpose for my life, and I know I can’t fix myself or get there by myself. I need your direction. Give me faith, courage, and an obedient heart to change my life step by step. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Your turn: What advice do you have for someone struggling with their next step? Let us know in the Leave a Reply section below.