But at these words he was saddened, and went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
Humility Precedes Discipleship
Success as a follower of Jesus demands different attitudes and skills than success in the world. Consider the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22. This guy had it all. He had youth, wealth, and even outward goodness going for him. When He claimed to have been perfect as far as the Mosaic Law was concerned, Jesus never contradicted Him. In fact Jesus felt love for this young, wealthy, pious man. I mean, who wouldn't love a guy like this?
Yet, the success He enjoyed had a steep price. Rather than thanking God for all that He had, His blessings had led to pride. If we are honest we must admit how easy it is to start thinking that all we are and have is from our hard work, sacrifice, effort, and skill. That attitude, when allowed to take root, become an obstacle to discipleship.
Humility must precede discipleship. Just as this young man would not forfeit all He had gained to follow Jesus so those who insist on hanging on to their pride also forfeit following Jesus.
Pride can come disguised as many things. For the young man Jesus spoke to, pride was cloaked in a multitude of possessions. For those of us who have been part of a church pride can come covered by the shroud of a pattern of religious observance. We can get so committed to a certain way of doing things and so content with the results that we refuse to try something new. The result for us, as it was with this young man, is that Jesus moves on without us.
I think God I am surrounded by people who want to set aside pride and everything else that hinders us to follow Jesus. I pray that you too share fellowship with others who want to humble themselves and follow Him.