But Jesus didn't commend him. Instead, Jesus probed further and challenged him on a deeper level to sell his possession, give the money to the poor, and then follow him. Why did he do this?
Jesus is more concerned with things that distract us and tie us up than he is with our religious practices. He cut straight to the experience of this man, his possessions, and challenged him to leave those behind to follow him. Later, he challenged his listeners to leave behind whatever distracted them--houses, family, businesses--in order to follow him.
For many of us, our religion is more important to us than Jesus himself is. We would rather fill pews, passively attend bible studies, and expect others to do all the work, all the while claiming to be "faithful followers" of Jesus.
Jesus calls us to come out of that. To give up that empty practice of religion. To love him more than we love our religion. What will you leave behind to follow him?
Sermon: What Will You Leave Behind?