Luke18:18-23 recounts Jesus’ dialogue with the Rich Young Ruler:
18 ‘And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.’ (Luke18:18-23)
The Rich Young Ruler was doing nothing wrong. However, his walk with God was passive: “Have I killed anybody? Nope. Have I had an affair? Nope. But have I worked out what’s coming between me and God and dealt with it so that I can have an active walk with God?”
I think this is what Jesus was driving at. He wasn’t the Ruler’s financial advisor so wasn’t actually instructing him to sell himself over to poverty (or was he?). Even if he was, the challenge of Jesus is more fundamental than just ditching a sizeable estate. The principle applies to anything in our life that may be coming between us and God and stopping us from having an active walk with Him. It could be your job, a relationship, your children, or perhaps even your garden. This isn’t to say that any of these things are in and of themselves a barrier to a relationship with God (as is also the case with wealth). But they can absorb our energies so that there is not much left for God. Leaving us with a passive walk with Him.
So, time for some self-assessment. Identify any barriers and get rid of them!