Ervin & Coleen Starwalt
Starwalt Ministries Blog Articles

Love Reveals the Heart

In recent conversations with three of my mentees, the issue of love has come up. During one of these conversations, I was reminded of the story of a man who came to Jesus to ask him what he had do to get eternal life. His story is told in all three of the synoptic Gospels so we can piece together that he was young, rich and a ruler.

I quote Mark’s account in 10:17 (NLT):

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 20“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.

After briefly questioning the man’s use of the term “good” Jesus answers his question by mentioning the fifth through tenth commandments. Note that Jesus did not mention the first four commandments. And the young man, so sure of himself, and eager, says, "I've done all these things since I was a boy.” Matthew’s account tells us that he adds, “What more do I lack?” He had after all come asking about eternal life. Did he sense that he may not have locked in his “inheritance”? Both Mark and Luke report that Jesus says, “one more thing you lack,” something Jesus says after looking at him and loving him.

I find myself pondering the statement of Jesus’ love for this young man and the lack that Jesus sees in him, which perhaps the young man senses to some degree because of what follows next. Jesus tells him to do something very hard: get rid of his treasures. Go sell everything he has, give it all to the poor, and then come and follow Jesus. Then his treasure would be in heaven.

Do you see what Jesus saw?

If the young man was really searching for eternal life, he had it right there in front of him in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. Whoever has the Son has the Father. And whoever has the Son and the Father has life. But the man went away crestfallen because he was very rich. What Jesus did when he loved him was to look deeply into the man's heart and see that which was hindering him from what he said was his true heart's desire - life. Until that which he loved more than God was put out of his life he would never have the priceless treasure of life, life everlasting. What was at stake was who or what the young man really gave ultimate worth to, his worship.

Sometimes love necessitates saying the very thing that reveals people's hearts to themselves.

This then gives them then the opportunity to make an informed choice, one based on what they have learned about themselves, who they truly are. As the man leaves, Jesus tells his disciples that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. They then exclaim, "then who at all can be saved?" And Jesus says that with God all things are possible. And so, we know how much our Lord loves us, that if we are willing, he will bring the right people into our lives to show us his love so that we can make the right choices, ones that bring about life in ourselves and in those who are looking up to us.
Personal & Spiritual Growth