Hope for your financial life and beyond

This One Thing You Lack to Have Treasure In Heaven

Hidden Nuggets Series #73 – “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.” – Mark 10:21

treasure in heavenWe all have things that hold us back.

Things we can’t shake.

Things we don’t want to give up.

Things we love that bring us pleasure.

We’ve crossed a line when our love for and desire for such things keeps us from moving forward (or toward) to better things. We miss out on the prospects for a better future because we are latched onto the passions of the present.

To often the main culprit here is money and our desire for more.

Jesus and a Rich Young Man

One day Jesus was out teaching and a rich young man of some ruling stature came to him. The man knelt before Jesus and asked him a simple question,

“Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

Eternal life.

Indeed that represents a better future…the chance to extend existence beyond the realms of this physical world. The man recognized it as so. He thought it had true value…something worth sacrificing for to lay hold of.

Jesus responded to him with a list. Ah…we love lists! Do XYZ and all will be well. He said,

“You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

To which the man must have been overjoyed because he exclaims:

“Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”

(Yes…I’m going to have eternal life! Nothing can stop me now!)

But Jesus looked at the man and lovingly gave him this last, most important step:

“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.”

And perhaps no conclusion to a story in the Bible has a more disheartening ending than this one, for we read in Mark 10:22:

“But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

Sell My Stuff For Treasure in Heaven?

The first reaction for casual readers of this encounter is to say, “What? Jesus is telling me that in order to be a follower and have treasure in heaven I have to sell everything I own? Give all my money away? What kind of command and requirement for heaven is that?”

The issue here really isn’t about money per se. It’s about loving something more and being committed to it more to the point we can’t give it up for something Jesus considered more valuable…following him. Attachment to that thing holds us back.

Now for THIS man it certainly was his money. The Bible says he had “great possession.” No doubt those were accumulated over a long period of time and represented great sacrifice, work, focus, and determination on his part. He was obviously bonded to his belongings.

Perhaps you are as well.

But maybe for you and I we could just as easily insert into this dialogue – “To have treasure in heaven, one thing you lack: Go your way and…

…let go of that pride

…give up that relationship

…seek help for that addiction

…ignore the doubters

…drop the pursuit of fame

…put down the video games

…abstain from those parties

…surrender your will

…(add your issue here)

What’s Holding You Back?

Jesus knew this man’s issue: his love of money was holding him back from a more worthy and fulfilling future. By all indications, it was so powerful a factor in his life it kept him from securing treasure in heaven.

What’s your personal issue?

What’s blocking you from moving forward?

What would Jesus tell you to lie down to follow after Him?

Questions: What is or has held you back and kept you from moving forward? Is there something keeping you from following after Jesus? Will you have treasure in heaven one day?

Image by Sharon Soberon at Flickr Creative Commons

Next Post: The Best Solution to Those Buried in a Snowdrift of Debt

Prior Post: Top 7 Ways to Raise a Money Smart Kid

I hope you enjoyed that post. Want more?
Sign up to receive my blog posts via email and get your free gift...
99 Ways to Spend Less and Save More

Privacy Guarantee: I will not share your email with anyone.


  1. Good questions! I think God wants to say to me: less activity and more prayer and being with God.

  2. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    It’s really hard to let go of things, really. One reason I know is that it has a sentimental value. I myself am like those people. But, we have to learn if this is what God wants us to think, to feel, and to do.

  3. Funny how that works, isn’t it? If you ask the Lord to search your heart He has a knack for putting his finger right on “the one thing”.

  4. My issue is letting go of control, whether it’s money or my schedule or even my children. While your application of this passage works, if you look at the following section for context, it’s about how no one can enter the Kingdom of God through their own effort. Only God makes it possible. People at the time thought the rich were more likely to get into heaven but Jesus turns this assumption upside down. That said, I think we should be challenged by Jesus’s call to give it all away rather than writing it off. He obviously doesn’t tell everyone this, but if we can’t handle wealth without idolizing it, we’re in trouble spiritually.

Speak Your Mind