“ONE THING THOU LACKEST!”
Anglican Morning Devotion for 12 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” (MARK 10:17-22; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
The rich young ruler came to the right Person, and in the right way (running and kneeling), but he asked the wrong question since there is NOTHING one can do to inherit eternal life – it is a gift of God. Note, first of all, that the Lord asked the young man “Why callest me good – there is none good but one, that is God.” The young ruler did not recognize Jesus as the Son of God but rather as a good teacher. Secondly, that the Lord pointed out the provisions of the 2nd Table of the Law of Commandments, omitting the first Table. Why did the Lord do this?
It is possible to be outwardly good in the eyes of man and, yet, be grievously lacking in the eyes of the Lord. That 2nd Table of the Law applies to our duties and love we owe others of our neighbors; but the 1st Table relates to those duties and love we owe God. It was this first Table to which the Lord wished to draw the young man’s attention. If we keep not the first Table, the second Table is irrelevant.
“ONE THING THOUS LACKEST!” This young man had all the riches of the world – wealth, power, respect – but ONE THING he lacked; and that ONE THING was of greater value than all else of his possessions. In emphasizing that ONE THING, the Lord counseled him to sell all that he possessed, take up his cross, and follow Him. If our wealth and possessions blind our view of the Light of the World, we must dispense with them. Whatsoever thing – material or spiritual – that eclipses our view of God and His grace must be parted with.
This was a bridge too far for the young ruler. That ONE THING that he lacked came at too costly an expense. How could he part with his wealth, prestige and power and take up a cross and follow our Lord into the very Gates of Splendor? The foolish young man could not do so, so, he went away from the Lord of Life and into the eternal halls of darkness burdened with sorrow and regret.
How many live lavishly in this world, possessing every luxury and enjoying every pleasure; but lack that ONE THING that makes all others pale in comparison?
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” (MATTHEW 16:25-27)
This devotion begins with the question of the young ruler, “what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Of course, there is nothing he could do for salvation is by grace and not of works. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Then does God’s Word contradict itself above where Jesus says; “he shall reward every man according to his works.” Not at all for we are saved UNTO good works – not BY good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) There is an altogether important distinction between works of the flesh and those of the Spirit. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
It is Christ working in and through us that is righteous works – not those of our own volition: “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” (Colossians 1:26-29)