Some have seen in Matthew 19:16-26, a counsel of perfection, complete poverty, and obedience. Dietrich Bonhoeffer used this passage as a guide in writing his book, The Cost of Discipleship. However, this passage can hardly be made to teach a complete renunciation of possessions. Jesus spoke to this man at the particular point of his need.
In John 3, Jesus spoke of Nicodemus’ need that something be done “to him” by God beyond what he had thought he was doing for God; he needed to be born from above. And Jesus did not say to Nicodemus, “Go and sell what you have and give to the poor,” as though this were a universal formula; rather he spoke to the problem of legalism, of do-it-yourself religion.
For the rich young ruler, the issue was the idolizing of wealth and a lack of compassion for the needy. Our authors ask, “Is there anything that blocks you from wholehearted commitment to God? Identify each “idol” in your life that robs the Father of your kingdom potential.” … I would add the words of Jonah’s prayer, from Jonah 2:8,
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
Steve @ DCC