And a certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what, when I’ve done it, will result in my inheriting the life of the Age?” (Luke 18:18)
There was a young man, powerful by the standards of this world, who was wise enough to know that the standards of this world are not the final and ultimate standards.
He learned about a teacher who, by all accounts, could speak about that other world, that other age. Having mastered the standards of the present age, he wanted to master the standards of that other one as well. That way he could be rich and secure there and then as well as here and now.
He approached the teacher, addressing him as “good teacher.” Why was he a good teacher? Because surely he could explain how to enter into the ownership of the good things of that other age without giving up the good things he already had.
He asked that teacher, “I know the age to come will involve an enhanced kind of life. What do I need to do to achieve that enhanced life?”
The teacher said, “It’s a great start that you’ve observed the commandments. But this is not yet perfection. You are still clinging to your money and possessions as if they can offer you real security and happiness. You must give them up and be with me from now on. Being with me will be your security and happiness.”
And the young man was not willing to hear it. It was altogether too great a demand to place on him. Of course he needed his money. Of course he needed his possessions. He would keep them, and also serve God.
And so, having been offered the opportunity to be in Jesus’s bodily presence day and night, he turned away and went home to his things.