For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? (Luke 9:25)
One day a rich, young ruler questioned Jesus; Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 18:18) From the world's perspective, this young man had it all. He was extremely rich, had an important and politically powerful position as one of the Jewish rulers. I imagine that he was also healthy, happy, good looking, respected, admired and envied. Today, he would be on the cover of Forbes magazine and the author of the best selling book-- "How to be Successful Like Me!"
This rich, young ruler was even a religious man who proudly told Jesus that he kept all of God's commandments; And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth". (Luke 18:21) I'm sure that he sincerely believed that he was doing what was necessary to inherit eternal life. But, just to be absolutely sure, he ask Jesus if there was anything else he needed to do.
Jesus responded, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."(Luke 18:22) Jesus wasn't condemning the man's wealth or success. He was exposing his self-righteousness and his love for money; For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil... (1 Timothy 6:10) He loved his money and was not willing or ready to give up his successful life on earth, even for the prospect of eternal life in heaven; But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. (Luke 18:23)
How can you be successful, inherit eternal life and have treasure in heaven? Jesus gave us the answer; ... "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. (Luke 9:23, 24) As our wise friend Larry Wright used to say, "You must lose the life which you can't keep to gain the life that you can't lose". Maranatha!