The Sorrow of Forsaking Christ

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”  But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:21-22

Can great worldly possessions cause sorrow?  A wealthy young ruler’s encounter with Christ left him grieving because of the choice he made.

At the outset, he came running to Jesus, knelt by Him, and asked what he must do to inherit eternal life.  Here was a man who seemed to possess everything in life: he was noble and excellent, and yet he felt that something was missing. There was this concept of eternal life which gave him a curious desire to attain.  He sensed the urgency. He came running.

He asked the right question, but when Jesus gave him the answer, he walked away.  Why did he give up his pursuit of eternal life?

He expected Christ to confirm his own preconceived notions about the Kingdom of God. The Lord demolished his understanding.  Attaining eternal life is not simply a matter of following God’s commandments; it demanded something else. Christ probed into the very depths and center of his being and exposed his real dilemma: his trust in riches, his pride and confidence in them.

”Give it away”, says Christ, “and let me decide.”  The kingdom of God must be entered Christ’s way. It is a radical transformation, the way of the cross, of following in Christ’s footsteps.

He did not like Christ’s answer. He walked away, deciding to hold on to his possessions and the life he was accustomed to. But in leaving, he was sorrowful. A deep heaviness engulfed him as he opted for worldly riches over eternal life, as he walked away from Christ.

Judas turned his back on Christ and was filled with such remorse and sorrow that he took his own life.  To abandon Christ is spiritual suicide, to turn away from eternal life, from the only one who can give true riches, happiness, joy and peace.

Oh do not walk away from Christ! If you leave Him, you will have left your last and only hope, and nothing else remains but grief and eternal unhappiness. Run towards Him, embrace Him, and never let Him go.

*** Reference: Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “The Kingdom of God”, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 2010, pp. 155-172.

*** Photography: After Sunset by Andrew Koksharov

13 thoughts on “The Sorrow of Forsaking Christ

  1. Well said lily, I was just reading this scripture recently and was struck by the true deep sorrow that filled the rich man. The choice to follow Christ is not the easy choice but it is the choice that brings true and GREAT Joy, where as the easy choice to stay with his riches left him in sorrow. For so many people the unknown Joy of Christ is easier to reject than the well-known emptiness of their sinful nature. I choose hard wonderful beautiful JOY.

  2. When we give up earthly possessions, we give up our pride, confidence – making ourselves humble and vulnerable…trusting fully in God. For me, this is what Scripture says…

    • Truly you’ve pinpointed on the heart of the matter, Eric. It is what we take pride in that enslaves us and bars us from trusting God. Pride takes many forms: money, intellectual pride, physical appearance, etc. When we humble ourselves and lay down this pride, then we are truly set free to follow and fully trust God. Thank you for sharing your insight! 🙂

  3. One of the greatest pieces of advice my grandfather ever gave me – ‘you never miss what you give away’. The minute we start giving, our abudance multiplies in all ways (most often by merely opening our eyes)……… None of this is ours. Everything I might claim to own is merely on loan from He who provides all that I am (all that I need). It is His not because I give it to HIM but because He shares it with me! Thank you for this beautiful reminder. – Love, Bobbie

  4. Quote:”Can great worldly possessions cause sorrow?” thats a thought provoker….what a will a man give in exchange for his soul?…Blessings my friend..

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