Give Me Your Heart

(Mark 10:17-23; Luke 18:18-24)

The sun beat down on the rocky hillside as Jesus and his disciples walked down the dusty road. It had been a long day and they were weary of the crowds of people that normally thronged them.

Suddenly, a richly clad man came running down the road toward them. Panting, he knelt in front of Jesus. With anticipation in his voice, he asked, “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus stopped and looked at the man with compassion. “You know what the commandments teach,” He replied. “Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, defraud not, honor thy father and mother.” With a heart of sincerity, the young man said, “I have followed those commandments from childhood.”

Jesus turned his head to one side thoughtfully, as he considered the man before him. He knew that the man was a ruler and had great riches. He was moved that this good young man had humbled himself and had some desire to please God. With great love in His voice, Jesus said, “There is one thing that you lack. Go and sell everything that you have and give it to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven. Then, come and join me and my disciples.”

Disappointment clouded the ruler’s face as he slowly stood up, considering the internal conflict. He was stricken with grief because he wanted so badly to follow the Master. Yet, he had much wealth and was unwilling to sell it. With sorrow in his eyes, he shook his head and slowly walked away. Jesus’ eyes glistened with tears as he watched the young man.

While Jesus acknowledged the good, moral qualities of this man, He knew they would not enable him to gain Heaven. It would take the man surrendering his whole heart and loving God more than everything else in life. God wanted the very seat of the young man’s affections. Jesus knew that somewhere the man’s love for the world would come into conflict with his desire to follow the Lord. Hence, Jesus addressed the foundation of what it means to follow Him.

Morality and following a good code of conduct are not sufficient to gain eternal life; neither is just having a desire

for the things of God adequate. It takes a total consecration in love to follow Jesus and to inherit Heaven. We may have desire for God, we may have a measure of love, we may be good spouses, good citizens, and good neighbors, but it will take more.

God desires first and foremost the very seat of our affections. “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26). This is still the cry from the heart of God to mankind –“Give me your heart.” When we set our affections on God, we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. When God has our heart, He has our affections, our time, our money, our dreams and plans. We put Him first in every area of life.

Many people today come inquiring for Heaven as did the young rich ruler. Some walk away unwilling to give God their total affections. Others become active members in the church–singing, praying, teaching, and sometimes even preaching; yet never giving to God that ‘one thing’ that may remain a hindrance in their love.

Where is your love today? Are you lacking one thing? Have you sold out for God? Give Him your heart. Whatever you have to give up to follow Jesus will be well rewarded in this life and in the life to come.

-mws