Based on Biblical Text: Mark 10:17-18:
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.
Our text from Gospel of Mark is the story of a sad encounter between Jesus and a rich young man. This young man was challenged to take inventory of his faith.
Many retail organizations take an inventory of their stock, at least annually, to assess the true value of their assets. The inventory process normally is in at least three distinct phases. There is a count performed to determine the amount of finished goods in the warehouse. Next, a value is set on all the materials in the plant that are used to create the finished products. Finally, an assessment is made to determine the value of land and equipment. The second phase determines “goods in process” and the final stage is capital assets. The sum total of the physical inventory, assessment of materials used, and value of land and equipment represents the company’s value.
Taking inventory is a tedious process that involves climbing, counting and digging in order to make absolutely sure every “thing-a-ma-jig” and every “do-hickie” is counted. It is, however, a very worthwhile and necessary undertaking as it is the only way to determine true value. The inventory is complete when leadership receives a financial report of the company’s worth. The final report is considered very valuable as it can be used to prove net worth when needed to secure loans, borrowing against the company’s value.
In our text, we find the rich young man trying to borrow against the value of his faith. He wanted a guarantee that he would inherit eternal life. Jesus challenged him to take inventory of his faith to determine if he had sufficient assets to make the withdrawal on judgment day. The final assessment shows that the man actually came up short, merely posing as a man of faith, having a flaw in his relationship with God. In other words, the man had insufficient “faith assets.”
The man’s faith lacked hope. By addressing Jesus as ‘Good Master,” the same courteous title everyone gave to all the religious teachers, we see that the man did not believe Jesus was the awaited Messiah. The man lacked a repentant heart. He already thought he was perfect. The man revealed his unrepentant position, replying “Master, all these have I observed from my youth.” In essence, he was telling Jesus he was already ‘walking the walk.’
We cannot be too hard on this man. The truth of the matter is the man is very much like folk we know. He is like the many Christians who think they don’t have to come to church every Sunday, or study the Word of God with their church family, or pray at the prayer service. They don‘t think they have to, because in their mind, they’re already perfect.
When we begin to think our relationship with God is perfect, it is time to take inventory. When we have convinced ourselves we have done all we need to do to inherit eternal life, it’s time to take inventory. When we begin to think we are already walking the walk, it is time to dust off our spiritual shelves and assess the commitments we have cast off, the projects we have not completed, and the ministries we have left unattended.
It is easy to appear to be perfect. However, Jesus knows the real deal, the real us. He knows our heart. He already knows if we have taken an honest inventory of our faith.