Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said to him, One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor…
From the circumstances of the case, then, to which the text particularly refers, it is evident this precept implies that religion requires the renunciation of every object that engrosses the mind to the exclusion of God and duty. Nothing short of a complete sacrifice can fulfil the design of the gospel. This is a sublime view of the spirit and design of religion. It is not enough to submit to some privation and endure some trials in performing its duties; religion is so authoritative and dogmatic, that it must govern the will. The precept of the text requires the avaricious to sacrifice their wealth; but their wealth is to be applied to useful and charitable purposes. The sacrifice is enjoined as an indispensable proof of sincerity. Religion casts contempt on all sublunary things; still it commands its disciples to make the world's goods subservient to generous uses; it does not mortify one vice to afford scope for another. The wealth which the rich man in the text possessed, was to be distributed among the poor; and nothing can illustrate more strikingly the kind and charitable spirit of the gospel than the importance which is thus given to the claims of the destitute. In thus illustrating the benevolent spirit of the gospel, it is necessary to remark, that the text furnishes no argument for profuse and indiscriminate charity. There is a danger that our charity should not only be indiscriminate, but profuse. In enjoining these arduous and important duties, religion proposes a rich and splendid reward. The figurative language of the text was evidently suggested by the nature of the precept it contains. The individual to whom the text was addressed was commanded to renounce his wealth; and the reward promised to his obedience was a treasure hereafter, infinitely more valuable than all the treasures of the earth. We are accustomed to say of any object on which we set a high value, that it is a treasure. We say of knowledge, that it is a treasure; we say of fame, that it is a treasure; we say of affection, that it is a treasure — a rich, inestimable treasure; and in all these cases, the phrase expresses the importance we attach to the object to which it is applied. In its application to the reward which religion reveals, it is comparatively weak. Nothing that men value on earth can convoy any adequate idea of the splendour and value of that reward; for it includes in it all of dignity, enjoyment, and purity, of which our nature is capable — the greatest honour, the most exquisite happiness, and the most exalted virtue. It is a treasure of knowledge; for there all Divine truth will be revealed to the soul; doubts, errors, and prejudices, will be dispelled. It is a treasure of affection; for there all distrust, jealousy, and fear, will be removed; God's generous, unchanging love, will enrich and soothe the glorified spirit; a pure and glowing sympathy will unite soul to soul; the sweetest thoughts, and the most confiding tenderness, will be cherished and enjoyed; no suspicions will ever darken or chill the current of love, as it flows deep and warm from the rich fountains of the soul; and in communion with God, in the society of angels, and amidst the bright company of the redeemed, all the delights of lofty devoted affection will yield perpetual ravishment. It is a treasure of joy; for there every hope will be realized, and every promise fulfilled; care, trouble, and grief, will be forever gone; all the meanness, sufferings, and bereavements of life, will have passed away; bright scenes will call up the fairest images, and awaken into life the most animating thoughts; and exercises of lofty meditation, and the purest devotion, will fill the soul with transporting ecstasy. It is a treasure of glory; for there the soul will be raised to its native rank, adorned with unfading righteousness, invested with the honour of a mighty triumph, associated with angels, and welcomed by Christ; then the white robes will be put on, the crown and victory's palm; then the song of praise will smile from the innumerable host; all the glory of God, all the glory of angels, and all the glory of the redeemed, will meet in one resplendent blaze, and fill the vast heaven with its inconceivable brightness. Oh, what a treasure! valuable as the soul, lasting as eternity! Riches will decay and perish; the proud palace will crumble into ruins, and its stately chambers be lonely and silent; the charms of beauty will fade, the trophies of ambition moulder into dust; and all the gaiety, pomp, and splendour of life, will vanish like a dream, and leave not a wrack behind.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
WEB: Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross."