How To Find God: Give Up


I heard a strange application about the rich young ruler last Sunday. The gist of the message: find God–give up.

Yep. You read that right. Give up.

To refresh your memory, Jesus encountered a rich, young ruler who asked what he needed to do to be saved. Jesus said, “… go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

We’ve squirmed under this Scripture wondering how we’d pay our bills if we sold everything, or afford a Casting Crowns concert, or new vacuum cleaner bags. But digging a little deeper into this tale will bring you peace.

Consider the possibility that the rich young ruler held onto his riches because of: insecurity? greed? comfort? power?

Whatever he wanted from being rich became his god. Riches meant salvation.

I grew up on rules.

Yep. That could well grey-hairedred me burdened by works!

My rules encompassed not only the Ten Commandments but obedience, confession, purgatory, the rosary every day, being a good brownii.e.i.e a young girl scout doing good deeds), and an infinite number of rules of my own making.

When I met Jesus, I joined a church. This establishment taught me many good things. However, it was works driven. Give this A personality author a list of to-dos, and exhaustion knocks her out.

I held onto my own goodness (family calls me a goody-two-shoes) like the rich young ruler grasped his riches. I saw my sins as more egregious than anyone else’s. Zaccheus who made amends for his wrongs became my patron saint. All of this led to a lack of joy. It taught me God was a demanding taskmaster.


Ephesians 2: 8-9 says, “ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Not by works.

The rich young ruler wouldn’t be saved by holding onto his wealth or by giving it up. His wealth was his security–his lack of faith in God’s provisions.

I worked so God (and others) would love me. I worked to be acceptable to my old pastor. I feel the lack today because I’ve aged and don’t have the energy to work in my new church like I used to.

How simple is salvation. Trust God. Accept his free gift. Have peace.

That’s it.

If you do the above, everything else follows. You’ll delight in giving to others. You’ll follow the speed limit because God would be pleased. You’ll find joy in stupid Carolina wrens making nests in your work jackets hanging in the barn. Best: You’ll see God in everything and have joy unspeakable.

Tangled Lives

Roxie knows she’s worthless. Her addict parents abandoned her. In her foster home, emergencies and a handicapped sister made her feel invisible. The love of men proved her worth–temporarily.

Her sister? Crippled because of spinal bifada, lived in grace. Lived with joy.

See how they conquer their past.


  1. Peggy Ellis says:

    Your reference to the rich young ruler reminded me of a book I picked up at the conference. An Elk Lake author, Donna K. Stearns, and I had several short conversations and exchanged books. She wrote The Nazarene’s Price, the fictional story of the rich young ruler.

  2. Me says:

    Another good one!!! You are a gifted teacher my friend! ♥️

  3. Robin C says:

    Great addition to Sunday’s sermon

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