Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
Visions of Heaven
At some point in time most, all of us think and dream and imagine what Heaven will be like. When we lose someone we love we think about them joyfully leaving all pain and hurt of this life behind as they enter Heaven. We dream of what it will be like when the day comes we are reunited there. We imagine what we will do when we get to Heaven.
There is the old hymn I remember from my childhood. The hymn says we are going to be singing and shouting. I believe that is true..."When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be, When we all see Jesus we will sing and shout the victory." However the song furnished no details of what Heaven will actually be like, nor how it is we "all" or supposed to get there. What will Heaven be like? It will be greater than anything we can think or dream or imagine I am sure.
Jesus did give us some information on what Heaven is like. He called Heaven Paradise, told there are many mansions there, and of course, told us how it is that we may have treasure there; that is how we may get to Heaven. However. sadly we "All" won't make it there as the old hymn leads us to believe. The Bible tells us the way to Heaven is a narrow one, and the gate that leads to destruction is wide.
In Luke Chapter 18 a rich young ruler wanted to know how he could get to Heaven. Jesus told him he must give to get. He told him he must distribute to inherit. Lastly, he told him he must follow Him to get to Heaven, the place of eternal life. The young man was sorrowful for he could not bear to part with the things of the world. Jesus knew how hard it is for the rich to give up their possessions. He also knew how hard it is for the rich to enter into Heaven. He said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Like I said earlier we won't ALL get there.
Matthew Henry's Commentary of the story of the rich young ruler compares his world to the world of the rich young ruler.
Many have a great deal in them very commendable, yet perish for lack of some one thing; so this ruler could not bear Christ's terms, which would part between him and his estate. Many who are loth to leave Christ, yet do leave him. After a long struggle between their convictions and their corruptions, their corruptions carry the day. They are very sorry that they cannot serve both; but if one must be quitted, it shall be their God, not their worldly gain. Their boasted obedience will be found mere outside show; the love of the world in some form or other lies at the root. Men are apt to speak too much of what they have left and lost, of what they have done and suffered for Christ, as Peter did. But we should rather be ashamed that there has been any regret or difficulty in doing it.
Matthew Henry lived from 1662-1714. Funny it almost sounds as if he is speaking of today's world, doesn't it? He said, (in my interpretation) "If a person has to choose to give up corruption or conviction to God, many choose to quit God and look for gain through things of this world." One of my favorite Matthew Henry quotes is this, "It is easier to build temples than be temples of God." And may I add more important than being a temple builder for God, is to be a temple inhabited by Him if we want to get to Heaven.
I noticed in Luke 18:22 it seems as soon as a person gives up and distributes their worldly treasures, they instantly gain Heavenly treasure, even before they take a single step on their journey following Jesus. So giving up seems to be an essential part of gaining in God's Kingdom.
The story of the rich young ruler is sad in that we see he could not give up, he did not inherit, he did not follow. Perhaps farther on down the road when he was older, he did give and inherit and follow. There is always hope. God is a God of second chances. Perhaps we will meet the rich young ruler when we get to Heaven.
There is great hope and promise to all who do give up the things of this world for the cause of Christ. We will be victorious. We will get to Heaven if we forsake all and follow.
27 And he (Jesus ) said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. 28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. 29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, 30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
This week if you should think, or dream, or imagine about Heaven, also take the time to think, and dream, and imagine about what you have that you need to give up and distribute to inherit treasure there. May we each envision ourselves as givers and followers. God is a jealous God who longs for us to choose Him ahead of everything and everyone. Forsake all and follow Him. Even though we don't all have worldly wealth, we all have a wealth of things we need to give up for God. What we accomplish and gain here is not nearly as important as what we give up and gain for and in the Kingdom.