As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?"
Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God.
You know the commandments: Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, honor your father and mother."
He said, "Teacher, I have - from my youth - kept them all!"
Jesus looked him hard in the eye - and loved him! He said, "There's one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me."
The man's face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who 'have it all' to enter God's kingdom?"
The disciples couldn't believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: "You can't imagine how difficult.
I'd say it's easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for the rich to get into God's kingdom."
That set the disciples back on their heels. "Then who has any chance at all?" they asked.
Jesus was blunt: "No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it."
Peter tried another angle: "We left everything and followed you."
Jesus said, "Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land - whatever - because of me and the Message
will lose out. They'll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land - but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life!
This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)