The latest story in our saga following Matthew 19 is that of the Rich Young Ruler. You know the story right?
A rich man came to Jesus while he was teaching, and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus told him to keep the commandments.
The man said, "I've done all these, what still do I lack?"
Jesus told the man, "Go and sell all that you have, give it to the poor, and come to follow me."
You can read the story word for word, Matthew 19:16-24.
I've heard this story preached thousands of times. And to be honest, most of the time pastors tell the congregation how the love of money wasn't the man's problem. They use the story as an analogy, and ask the congregation to reach down deep in their hearts to identify whatever it is that is keeping them from God.
Some need to rid themselves of cars.
Some need to drop their addiction to television.
Others need to make sure sports, relationships, family, or even church isn't getting in the way of their relationship with God.
All those things are true.
But Jesus said, "Go and sell all you have."
So as we examine the text, just for the text sake, could it be that Jesus meant what He said?
Could it mean that we must give up everything we own to follow Him?
Of course leaders in ministry don't want to preach this, or else they'd have a congregation unable to support the local ministry.
Of course congregations don't want to hear this, because we are Americans. We are achieving the American dream with a house, two cars, 2.5 kids, a dog, and a picket fence. We're trying to accumulate wealth, and the last thing we want to do is vacate our 401K's for some kind of extremist fundamental religion. Right?
But what if that's what He meant?
I've been confused about this passage since I was a little kid.
Does God want us to just give up our earthly possessions?
What do you think?
Let's re-imagine the way we've heard this story for so many years, and ask that God teach us the value here.
May we follow Him with all we are.
May we be brave enough to sell it all.