I turned away. Slowly at first but quickened as the breeze blowing from behind, mixed with hair and sand, collided with my face. Using my hands as an eye guard, I set my feet in motion allowing any ambitions I had to drain as I walked away decidedly slower than my approach.
“What did he say?” asked Dahlan, my trusted friend and bodyguard. “We can discuss it later. I don’t want to talk about it right now” I said while mounting my camel with a grimace showing obvious frustration.
I was sad…and mad at the same time. Mad because I wasn’t interested in following him. Not now – five years ago, maybe. It’s every young boys dream to be a student of a rabbi and to be a rabbi, the nucleus of a discipleship cell. Unfortunately, you can’t buy that with money, not here. In this system brains are the currency and in my family we have more money than ability to memorize entire books of scripture. “Sell all you have and follow me”? Sorry, no longer interested.
But, what about the question I asked? My inquest was about eternal life. What is it about these rabbis who always answer a question with a question? And now, I’m the one asking questions. But to whom? Myself? My camel? This is ridiculous and it makes me mad…and sad.
What possible connection is there between my wealth and eternal life? I’ve kept the commandments. What did he mean that there was one thing I lack? I’ve never really lacked for anything accept the answer to my question! “I’m rich. I’m young. And I’m a ruler. And, I’m, no… We’re, out of here.”
Jesus, seeing the man turn and slowly walk away with his hands glued to his face, hoped his pace might turn into repentance. Eternity teetered in the balance as the man answered his own question while mounting his camel. The teacher couldn’t help but feel compassion for the young dignitary who failed to trust God more than his earthly wealth.