Below is a an excerpt from Christian Authors/Speakers, Kathy Collard Miller and her husband Larry Miller's new book, Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today.
I hope you enjoy the article, and for those who comment, you will be entered into a drawing to win a copy hot off the press! Just tell me why you might want to read this book, and I'll pick a winner. Be creative!
When Are We Like the Rich Young Ruler?
by Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller
Do you want to see Jesus’ compassion and patience in action? It’s in Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler.
In one way or another, we’re all like the rich young ruler of Matthew 19:16-22. We just each have a different sinful strategy to cope with life. The young ruler’s sinful strategy was self-sufficiency through keeping the law and commandments. And when he talked to Jesus, he most likely expected Jesus to suggest he follow those rules for gaining eternal life. And Jesus at first stayed at the level of the Law by challenging him, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (verses 18-19). Evidently the young man thought that was the easy answer on the quiz because he claimed he had done those things.
He had no clue that Jesus was referring to that “to-do” list as a barometer of the heart. This young man's behavior seemed obedient but evidently, he hadn't attended the class entitled “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5-7). Because there Jesus explains it's all about the heart not just the behavior. Jesus in his compassionate way was gently guiding this young man toward truth, even knowing he would walk away.
The young man then asks, “What else do I lack?” You have to give him credit. He seems determined and he knows there's something more. Jesus says, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (verse 21).
This was a specific soul care interaction designed exactly for this man. We have no record that Jesus ever told anyone else to do that same thing. Why? Because other recorded interactions didn't include a person who idolized and suffered from a strategy of self-sufficiency.
Interestingly, Zaccheus evidently didn't suffer from this strategy or he quickly repented from it, because even though Jesus didn't tell him to “go, sell,” Zaccheus did it of his own accord (Lk. 19:1-10). His heart was supernaturally healed and delivered—from the inside out; the fruit was generosity to others and commitment to Jesus.
The rich young ruler's heart was not changed. “When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (verse 22). His possessions were his god and he did not want to surrender his strategy of self-sufficiency. It must have felt impossible and he ended up choosing eternal death, thus not finding the eternal life he sought from Jesus.
We love how Jesus compassionately and patiently tried to woo this young man to believe. Can we hear Jesus’ wooing us, calling to us to abandon our insufficient efforts at providing for ourselves?
This article is excerpted from Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today (Leafwood Publishers) which offers Christians hope that they can change their destructive patterns of behavior through identifying their sinful self-protective strategies and then being empowered to trust God instead. Authors Kathy and Larry Miller include biblical principles, insightful stories, and helpful instruction. It also provides discussion questions that can be used by individuals or groups.
Kathy Collard Miller is the author of 50 books and has spoken in 31 states and 8 foreign countries. Kathy and her husband, Larry, have been married 44 years and he is a retired police lieutenant who also speaks and writes. Larry and Kathy speak often together and individually on a variety of topics. They live in Southern California, and have two grown children and one grandson. Visit them at and .
Never Ever Be the Same is available at your local Christian bookstore and in both print and digital versions at:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1BJz3lC