When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”Luke 18:22
And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”Luke 19:8
We live in a time and place with great wealth relative to most of the rest of the world and so the stories of the Rich Young Ruler and Zacchaeus speak to us in particular.
The first man was a follower of the Law, but when he was challenged by Jesus to sell everything and follow Him, he walked away with sadness because he was a slave to his wealth even though he did all the right things by following the commandments of the Law.
And then there is the wee little man, Zacchaeus, who climbed a sycamore tree to see the Lord. After the Friend of sinners had dinner with Zacchaeus and his household, Zacchaeus willingly gave generously to the poor and promised to make things right with anyone he had cheated. Jesus didn’t ask Zacchaeus to give away his wealth, it was the little man’s response to the grace received through Jesus.
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”Luke 19:9
The rich ruler wasn’t saved by his good works, and neither was Zacchaeus, but Zacchaeus responded with good works as a result of his faith. Good works always follow true faith in Christ.