Mark 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Yesterday, when I was pondering about the woman caught in adultery who was set free by the Lord with the command to “leave your life of sin”, I thought of the rich young ruler and a favorite movie. The movie is Frequency, a 2000 science-fiction film that contains elements of time travel, thriller and alternate history, starring Dennis Quaid and James Caviezel as father and son.
In the movie, the father, Dennis Quaid is a fireman killed in a warehouse fire in 1969. His son, Jim Caviezel is in 1999, and even though it’s 30 years later, he is still hurting from the death of his father. He has his father’s ham radio and due to unusual aurora borealis (northern lights) activity, they are stunned to be talking to each other on the radio, although separated by 30 years.
For the father, the conversation occurs the day before the warehouse fire that kills him. For the son it is the day before the 30th anniversary of that fire. Though the father doesn’t believe that it’s his son that he’s talking to on the radio, the son is able to shout out a warning about the fire that took his life the next day.
Sure enough a day later as he tries to escape the burning warehouse he remembers his son’s warning to not go the way his instincts and training tell him to. He goes the opposite direction that at the time looks like the worse alternative and escapes safely. His original direction led to death; the alternate way led to life. This time he made the right choice!
“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” For the rich young ruler, this was the alternate way out of the “burning warehouse”. This was the way for him that led to life. Unfortunately, due to his wealth he went away sad. Jesus communicated a precise way to life that specifically addressed his situation. Hopefully, he later repented and obeyed.
Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” She too was in a ‘burning warehouse” and the way she was going would result in death. But Jesus gave her a way out that led to life. Jesus does the very same with all of us. By His Spirit we are warned to turn, to repent, to follow Him in a new direction that leads to life. He has redemptive, life giving paths for us to take no matter where we find ourselves.