If we are to take Yeshua at His word, then His expectations of us to produce “good fruit” means that somehow we are to store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth. But what does that mean? Obviously it means making God our priority in life, or at least starting by placing Him higher on our priority list. That’s what relationship with Him is all about. Yeshua can help us understand this. Once a young man came to ask Him about that very subject. He wanted to know how he could “inherit eternal life”. Here is what Yeshua told him:
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “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.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:21-22 NKJV)
There are some very important things in this answer and in the young man’s reaction to it. Yeshua gave him the secret to treasure in heaven: sell all he had (that is, get rid of everything he valued), give it to the poor (that is, to the people who would have no way to pay him back), take up the cross (get ready for extreme suffering), and follow Yeshua (become His disciple and do exactly what Yeshua says for the rest of his life). No wonder the young man went away sorrowful! Yeshua was telling him he had to give up everything that defined him – his identity, his likes, his possessions, his preferences, his dreams, his ambitions, and even his comfort. Sadly, the young man was not willing to go that far.
But how far are we willing to go? Notice that this was not just any young man. This was a good guy; one who said he loved God, and probably lived as godly a life as he knew how. That, by the way, is the first part of this story. Let’s go back a few verses and see:
Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 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.’” And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” (Mark 10:17-20 NKJV)
Notice that Yeshua did not tell this young man to do anything different than what any good Jewish man would do: keep the commandments of God. Those are the very commandments God had given to His people through Moses. Apparently the man was doing rather well at keeping the commandments, at least from all outward appearances. But then Yeshua asked him to do something more. He asked the man to obey the commandments not just with his lips and his hands, but with his heart and his mind.
It’s not enough to keep the rules if you’re not doing it with your whole heart. First get your heart right, and then you will keep God’s rules as a natural outgrowth of your love for Him. We don’t keep the commandments to get into God’s kingdom; we keep the commandments because we are in His kingdom. He explained these things in great detail starting with Moses and going all the way through the Prophets and the Apostles. If we really want to store up treasure in heaven, then we’ll start paying attention to what they said.
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