Kassi and I had a very interesting discussion the other day about the story of “The Rich Ruler”. It’s in Luke 18:16-23. It reads:
“A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'”
All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.“
Think about Jesus standing in front of you asking you to sell everything. What if you had several million dollars to your name? Would you do it?
Our lives in Australia are pretty simple. We have a couple weeks worth of clothes each, a handful of Apple products, and a couple bikes. It would take one good yard sale and some steep discounts, but we could pretty easily sell it all and give it the money to the poor; ESPECIALLY if Jesus was standing right there in front of us asking us to do it.
But if we were back home in Reno, Nevada, it would take more than just a yard sale to sell everything. It would take a solid month at least to get rid of everything; and the amount of money would be significantly higher. Would we still do it? Not that easily, that’s for sure, but I think we still would. Or at least I like to think we would.
Kassi’s response was very similar to mine, “If Jesus was standing right here in front of me, then yes. But that’s what it would take – God himself standing right in front of me.”
That’s one of the biggest questions you can ask yourself when you are pursuing Jesus and his discipleship. Would you be willing to give all of it up? Luke 14:33 calls us to do just that:
“In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
God also says in Luke 16:10:
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
God also says in Luke 12:32-34:
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
All of those verses are cited to say that God is calling us to have willing hearts to give up everything. None of our possessions are our own, but they are God’s. That’s the attitude we are supposed to have. God says in Luke 18:29-30 that,
“no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”
That’s a promise from God. So what do we have to be afraid of?
Give me a willing heart to obey when you call me to give up everything for your sake. Help my wife and I evaluate our hearts as you teach us and give us the faith to think of our our lives and our possessions as not our own. Help give us vision for what our lives would look like completely reliant on you. You are happy to give us the kingdom, you just need the right heart to trust. Help mold and shape our hearts as we investigate your word and strengthen our faith.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.