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What Did Jesus Mean With “Sell Everything You Have”?

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Extreme Commands for an Extreme World

Jesus and the Rich Man

Jesus and the Rich Man

When I was 16 years old, I read in the newspaper about world poverty. For the first time, I learned that one billion people suffers from what the UN calls extreme poverty – less than 1,25 US dollars per day – and that due to the horrible circumstances that such low income brings, 50 000 people die from extreme poverty every day. That’s 18 million in a year. Chocked by these facts, I opened my Bible later that day and found the story about Jesus and the rich man:

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:21-23)

This wasn’t the first time I encountered this passage, but when I had done so previously I had simply interpreted Jesus in a non-literal sense. I thought that when He said “Sell everything you have” to the rich man, He meant “Put me as number one in your heart, give all of yourself to me.” Not that He literally wanted the dude to sell everything he had because, come on, that’s extremely… extreme.

However, now that I knew about the extreme suffering that people suffering from extreme poverty are going through, Jesus’ words suddenly seemed reasonable. If my money can save poor people’s lives, it’s quite unethical – even sinful – to spend them on Playstations or fancy cars instead of on them. And Jesus explicitly says that the rich man should sell his stuff in order to give to the poor in every Gospel this story is written in (Matthew 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-30 and Luke 18:18-30).

Attitude Theology

In fact, the non-literal interpretation I had doesn’t make much sense (the continuing dialogue Jesus has with His disciples about not being rich and abandoning possessions clearly isn’t just “spiritual”). In my experience, not many Christians believe in the non-literal interpretation. Instead, most rich Christians believe in an interpretation where Jesus’ words to the rich man aren’t applicable to rich people in general, only this particular guy and maybe a few more (though hardly ever the person who’s arguing for this interpretation).

This interpretation assumes what I call attitude theology – the idea that wealth isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s your attitude towards wealth that makes it immoral or not. If you love God more than your money, you’re allright even if you’re very rich. It’s no problem if you own a lot of money, the problem is if you’re money owns you.

As I’ve explained in my fifth God vs Wealth video that you can watch above, attitude theology assumes that you can have a treasure on earth and your heart in Heaven which, of course, is the opposite of what Jesus was saying in His Sermon on the Mount when He pointed out that your heart will be where your treasure is (Mt 6:19-21). Furthermore, Jesus generalizes the rich man’s regret of following Him in Mark 10:23-25 and parallells, saying that it’s very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God, and in Luke 12:33 He even gives the same command to sell possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, to all of His disciples!

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Lk 12:33-34)

People that want to isolate this radical command to one rich dude only, often fail to mention Luke 12:33 where it was given to all of Jesus’ followers. In fact, in Luke 14:33 Jesus says that one cannot follow Him unless one gives up everything one has!

Seriously… Selling Everything?

This is where it’s getting uncomfortable, isn’t it? Is Jesus actually saying that all Christians should abandon all their stuff and sit naked in some forest eating berries? After you’ve sold everything, all you have is nothing, right? What most people don’t realize is that Jesus’ command to sell everything isn’t a calling to an abandonment of possessions, but to community of possessions. Mark ends the story about the rich man with:

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:28-31)

Those who leave everything will gain a lot, not just in Heaven but even here and now. We see this in Acts where every Christian literally sells all they have:

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need… No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had… there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32, 34-35)

Thus, in the apostolic church Christians sold all their stuff, gave the money to the apostles, and the apostles redistributed the money so that everyone’s needs were met. Those who previously lived in palaces got a normal house and those who previously were homeless got a normal house. There was equality and economic community, just as Jesus had been sharing money with HIs disciples (John 13:29).

That’s what will end poverty and that’s how Jesus wants us to live. Those who want to bail out, and claim it’s not for them, are those too egoistic to share their wealth. Poor people gain on community of goods so they surely want it, they just rarely get the chance. It is the rich that have the responsibility to start selling and giving. Are you willing to do that?

For more teaching on wealth and poverty according to the Bible, check out the God vs Wealth series

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37 Comments

  1. jonatanfransson says:

    Very good post. Though I’m not a fan of the community thing, which I do not think was how the first christians practiced their giving away of goods, I totally agree on selling your possessions and giving to the poor. Can’t say I’m there where I practice this, but I agree this is the command of Jesus. One thing I’m curious about is what you think about the fact that Jesus seemed to have a place He called His own, as well as other early christians in acts seemed to have their own houses. How do you sync this with a modern community living?

    • Hej bror! 🙂

      Thanks for your comment and question! We have to firstly keep in mind that even though 50 % of Sweden’s households today are single households, those hardly existed in ancient times – people almost always lived together in nuclear families or extended families. In fact, it’s not impossible that Jesus stayed with Peter or some other disciple in Caparnaum. But even if He had His own house that isn’t incompatible with community of goods, just like having your own clothing or tooth brush isn’t incompatible with community of goods.

      See, there were at least 3000 people – possibly 5000 – practising community of goods in Jerusalem according to the book of Acts. There was no single house to accomodate all of that people, so clearly they lived in many houses, such as the house of John Mark’s mother and other. The important things is that nobody lives in luxury and that nobody is homeless.

      It’s similar in the Jesus Army in the UK – there, 500 people live in community of goods but they don’t live in the same building. Instead, they live in 40 different community houses all around Great Britain. But they share a common purse where all income and expenses are pooled.

      I hope that answers your question. Blessings!

  2. artbucher says:

    My church has thrift stores. So we have a continual opportunity to sell our things. And others in the neighborhood can too. Then we give the proceeds to relief and development around the world. We’re living this out!

  3. Andrew says:

    In 1980 I did just that: I took and lived those sayings of Jesus literally for 35 years…never having a regular salary after Febr, 1980. It was not that at that time I had a lot of earthly possessions, actually mostly debts which I had to pay first before being able to drop out and follow Jesus 110 %. I forsook a few old cars but mostly what I forsook was my own life: how I was used to the safe feeling of a monthly salary and to be able to have money to do what I wanted. My so called financial freedom which actually had kept me in bondage with invisible chains… I never ever regretted giving that up, as it started a life full of daily miracles of supply from sometimes the most unexpected sources! The rich life of a ‘poor’ missionary, but always helping the poor with the abundant supplies of the rich that shared their abundance with us. I would do it all over again if I could!

    • What do you do now? I am a Christian and don’t have many possessions and seek to help Christians as I can, with a tithe or whathave you, but I keep sensing a call for more, to forsake everything and sell it all to give to the poor, but I am troubled because I don’t know where to go. I have some ministries I can apply for which cost money to get involved in. I wonder if I should get a better school degree now and then drop out and help others with that degree. One thing I think is that I think that Jesus keeps telling me to leave my job and reminding me of this passage and full all in dependence on Him even monetarily. What do I do?

  4. Johnny says:

    Brother,
    Thank you for your post. I am a Roman Catholic who has struggled with this passage for a long time.

    Before I proceed, let me acknowledge that I do not disagree with you that we need to take Christ’s words here more seriously, especially when our brothers and sisters live in such dire poverty. I am not proclaiming that these examples mean we should just forget what Jesus said.

    It is a call to die. There is nothing figurative about it. However, saying that Jesus called every one who might gain eternal life to sell everything is inaccurate.
    The same gospel writers who condemned this man’s wealth say later in the Passion narrative that Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple AND a rich man. Not formerly, or a converted rich man who now begged. He used his wealth for the service of the Son of Man and by later fable went and spread the Gospel.
    Mary Magdalene, Lazarus of Bethany and Martha had a house that Jesus frequently visited and enjoyed spending time with them and did not proclaim woe unto them.
    In the Acts of the Apostles, AFTER we here about their socialist sharing, the apostles meet Lydia, the purple merchant who is a woman of means. The disciples stay at her house and use it for services. She is not told to sell everything.
    Nicodemus was not told by Jesus in his discussion on salvation to sell everything otherwise he will rot in the eternal flame.
    The Good Samaritan must have had possessions because he had enough to stop and supply what the man needed and then some.
    Zacchaeus sells half and restitutes fourfold. There is debate as to how much he has left, but the above statements make you think its very plausible he still kept his wealth.

    I am NOT saying that we should take this blanket solace in the above examples and say “oh, that’s great, I’ll just do whatever I want,” but on the same hand, you must look hollistically at biblical text. I think every person of means is called, in one way or another, to downsize to a relatively significant extent to help their brothers and sisters. This question has lead me to study economics in college- how can we systematically help the poor? And every single person selling every single possesion halts progress and helps no one. If you are called to sell all, you must, but discern and don’t just legalistically do it over fear of hellfire. Listen to God.

    • Irene says:

      Johnny, he is not saying selling, but sharing. All the examples you gave, if you look at sharing instead of selling (which is ur way of twisting what the author says) as the solution, it would make sense.

      Economics only look at $$, but it is other not about $$ but love. The ultimate commandment is to love your neighbou as yourself, not providing systematic help to he poor. The ultimate commandment encompass more and is very personal and does not bypass the individual in front of u.

    • J Boitson says:

      Do not worry about world economics. The number of people willing to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus are not enough to halt the progress of the world. Many will try to enter the narrow gate but few will be able.

      If someone decides to follow Jesus and has a house full of self-serving possessions, they are being asked to sell their excess that is used for their own entertainment and use it for people who don’t have life’s necessities. You don’t have to sell your tooth brush or pots and pans or plates and bowls or the like. I suppose if any of those items were worth a great sum of money the heart of what is being asked is that you would part with those items and do with more modest versions. Followers are to live modestly and be content with food and clothing. Most are terrified of doing without the pleasures and securities of wealth if they’ve got it. Jesus is saying, “If you would just trust in Me enough to practice my teachings wholeheartedly you will soon discover that My Father and I will come and dwell within you and provide you with life that overflows. An existence that never gets old but is always new.”

  5. Irene says:

    This is the best interpretation or explanation of the concept I have learned, it ties everything together, including the beatitudes for in the kingdom of God (on earth or in the people), those who mourn will indeed be comforted in a true communal living where not only $$ is shared but where the people love each other truly. In addition to the attitude theology answer u mentioned, I was also told

    1 The Bible never said this and he as a pastor knows the Bible better than I do??!! (What else can I say…)

    2 God is not asking u to do it (because God has not taken your money away but continues to bless u). God is asking that IF He asks you (i.e. takes away your money and makes you poor), you will accept it. This theology provides the most self-righteous justification for the rich not to help the poor.

    3 This only applies to the rich, those whof Iive in luxury (e.g. 10 million dollar mansion, private jet, etc)

    4 This only applies to those with 3 houses, I have only 2 (each worth about a million) and I am so glad I don’t make the cut off to share. (True statement from bible class teacher at church.)

    5 I already do because I am so talented, if I had my career in other trades instead of being a pastor, I would have made much more money. So by sacrificing my life as a pastor (in a rich country), I am already sharing with the poor the much higher salary I could have earned if I were not a pastor. salary, but theses pastors own expensive houses with grown up children prospering. )

    6 God bless the righteous, look at David and Abraham. So it is good to be wealthy and continue to own those possessions.

    7 the Beatitudes… the rich commit suicide and worry all the times, but the homeless men who have joy and peace because having Jesus is enough (FYI, the rate of death is much higher among the homeless than the rich. Being homeless in itself is a formust of slow-cooked suicide.)

    8. JOHN 10:10

    9 The poor you will always have with you…
    ….

    The other end is like Mother Teresa”s model. I volunteered there and talked to the sisters during their private hour a lot. They are good people but in such misery in terms of emotional
    needs because the Sisters are not allowed to have attachment. And a lot of the money goes into buying houses for the MissionAries of charity but the poor cannot take shelter in there. They can at most get a meal and then go back to the street. How much nicer it would be for communal living where the poor actually can contribute and are on equal ground with the Sisters instead of always being the lowest with no future.

    ….

    But unfortunately, you again focus solely on materiaLism. This is understood if you come from a privileged background. You put zero attention on giving up brothers and mothers etc and gaining 100 folds more mothers and brothers etc. People privileged with growing up in love always take it for granted and deny the need exist. Because they have access to this family love easily. It is like people drinking water very day ignore the importance of water….

    Proverty is not just about money. Indeed many poor (below poverty line) children are much more happier (according to their own words after they became adults) than some rich ones. No, the rich kids do not ask for it or deserve it as those privileged with a reasonably loving family may be ready to judge. But naturally, people just ignore the part on giving up mothers and brothers etc… no, it means more than living away from home for with today’so technology, being away means nothing.

    Bottom line, does it matter. Many rich people who share minimally experience miracles and have all their wishes from God all the times, showing their clooseness to God.

    Jesus says a lot of things in the new testimony…. but is he expecting us to follow it all… no, that is where His grace comes in… the fact that He so readily blesses and provides true miracles to those who are already richly blessed with much in terms of finance and family and health and love shows that he is not really expecting it, even though I wish he was. And his criteria on love certainly does not just include sharing possession. He looks at humilily, emotional care, patience, compassion, judgement on others, pride, forgiveness, etc etc.

    Who is better in God’s eyes…the ones living in comunal living but who are proud, self righteous, and show little compassion for those suffering from loneliness/hopelessness/guilt/emotional pain/nightmares/fear at nursing homes, jails, mental hospital, or abusive homes or not isolation,
    OR
    the ones who are quite comfortably with a privatev nice big house and cars etc but who are compassionate towards everyone (with feverent prayers in private and demonstrated actions to comfort and support), humble, patience, loving, and grateful?

    If you always use what you yourselfind have done well in as a measuring stick for everyone and ignore everything else outside of money, are you any better handle those you judge?

    The more I study Christianity, the more I am not sure if Christianity can offer any hope or if Jesus is real. It is like every single christian wh claims to be close to God or really loves God can offer me absolutely nothing but a bunch of demands or beliefs or judgements that will make themselves feel good.

  6. edith says:

    SELLING ALL calls for the surrender of anything that hinders us from making God the Lord of All. Every person has that one thing that he lacks, one weakness that he cannot fully overcome, one thing that he loves more than God…. It may be money, a career, a dream mission, or even a beloved person or pet… even himself…..

    • J Boitson says:

      What you have just stated is the teachings of demons. This very explanation is the source of the multitudes who will not enter the narrow gate. Jesus says you cannot be His disciple unless you give up everything you have. If you have stuff that you keep for your own pleasure and luxury while people in the world are starving to death what do you suppose God will say? Did He not tell us to love your neighbor as yourself? If you feed yourself when you are hungry or replace clothing when you’re in need or provide for yourself a place to live to keep from living on the streets are you also doing this for your neighbor? How about all the gizmos and gadgets you have? Are you also getting your neighbor the sames gizmos and gadgets?

  7. Matt says:

    Very well stated. You put this together very well. I have struggled with this question for a while now. Also countless debates, of weather its literal or not. I do honestly believe it is a serious point in our faith with the lord, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. We are to do our best to follow in the footsteps of Christ in some way. This is a real test of faith regardless of if you believe it is literal or not.

    Again good job.

    • J Boitson says:

      Jesus gave many instructions on how those who follow Him should live. The secret is that in order to obey His commands you sincerely have to believe in Him. The ways of Jesus are so opposite the ways of the world and opposite the ways of the sinful nature that only those who truly believe in Him will deny themselves to the extreme that He commands. Anyone who still loves the world will find it impossible to obey His commands and will come up with reasons such as saying they don’t apply to us today. It is a narrow door. Many will try to enter but few will be able. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Our hearts must be tested to show where our loyalties lie. God or Money. Others or ourselves. Obedience to His teachings is the test.

  8. oilerz4life says:

    The words of Christ are not open to interpretation by churchy church 2017 North America. I have lived 40 years justifying my false beliefs before until the resent overdose and death of my step daughter. In this journey I realized there is more to life. I started selling my possessions and giving over 100% of the proceeds to the poor.

    What followed was a reliance on living by faith for each measure of the world that was previously held onto (materialism/greed/etc). Each day is a struggle to say, ok, what is one thing you want from me today? You find that living by faith and talking about faith are two seperate things.

    There is no room for compromise. Where your heart is, your life will follow. It is not easy to take up your daily struggle, but you find where you had previously lived a life of greed and materialism, you now have a life 100% dedicated to faith and scripture, the holy book and prayer, to the Spirit and the Word. The Bible revolves around promice and result anyway (you do this, and this will happen).

    This is clearly outlined in scripture. Once you start living this way, everything else starts to make sence and it all falls into place (the gospels, acts). Luke 16 (the rich ruler). Matthew 19 (the rich and the kingdom of God). Acts 2 (the early church). The first step Jesus clearly states “first, sell all of your possessions and give all of the money to the poor, then follow me”. When he sends out his diciples two by two, they are sent with nothing more than the shirts on their backs. In Acts 2 the early church sold their possessions, gave it to the apostles and shared with those in need.

    There you have it, the cornerstone of Christianity. After that, well then it’s living by faith and no longer just saying it, so it’s an adventure, but all of those instructions are clearly laid out, step by step. Once you start down that path, it simply becomes natural to want to follow the path of obedience anyway, which Jesus says is the measure of whether or not you truly love God. No simple task, but when you consider the reward, you no longer think of the consequence. Your best friend is there beside you and once you follow that route you find no one could be happier than none other than the Almighty, in person each step of the way.

    • J Boitson says:

      I really appreciate the words that you’ve shared. Through my life I have been led away from the false teachings of modern Christianity to the true teachings of God’s Son and the promises that follow if you are obedient to those teachings. I do not know anyone who believes Jesus enough to obey His teachings. When I read what you wrote a hope was renewed that someone has ears that hear. My name is Jeff and I have a sincere longing to find others who desire the narrow path. I feel quite alone in my journey and often wish there were others who could help keep me on the narrow way. Anyway I just thought I’d say hello and see what God would do.

      • Sadegh Firoozy says:

        Hi J BoitSon,

        I just read your post and every other, I got to say im in the same position here and I cant seem to believe in some the things Jesus says but im too scared to turn away. Something keeps bothering me to follow these teachings. Although i admit i feel like I’ve lost the race already and my heart has become a stone and somehow I’m always expecting a regrettable end. I feel very alone and have hardly anyone i can connect to. Mostly my own fault but i always think i have my reasons too. It’s very hard to go down this path and somehow i feel i should of known the truth at an early age. My start to following the clean life was a messy way and i can’t undo it. im always fighting my mind and others around me because i feel like i’ve failed. I never get heard no matter what is bothering me yet i always have to follow these teaching and listen. There may be a reason for all of this or i might just be on the path to destruction. and yeah i wish there was someone too to keep me on the narrow path instead of me always fighting things i cannot see and being filled with all sorts of advice from all over the place. I don’t know if i can help you but i sure do need help. i feel hated and attacked day and night and i try to praise God but i just cant seem to have any hope or trust left in him. i never had seen a everlasting blessing from him to be evident to be fully in love. Today i tried to buy an iPad and feel like the world is putting me on a firing squad as if i just murdered somebody. degraded and humiliated. All i own is a council given home by local authority, food in the fridge, an iPhone and a laptop given by my brother. i have 2 plates given by my Mother, few spoons and forks, a small knife and a wooden spatula, a rice cooker given by my mother again, An Oven given by my Dad, A fridge Given by my mother, A 6 inch Fan, a tooth brush and toothpaste with 2 shower gel. a beard trimmer, a rusty bike that im grateful for, 1 Jacket, a few trousers and two tshirts left and a hat, oh i also have a wonky frying pan with no handle given by my Mother, i smoke cigarettes all day and fight sexual sins and my mind, i try to get to know God and hes powers of moving mountains, but i cant even seem to get forgiveness never mind moving mountains. Day and night i have torments and horrible dreams, constant fear of hell. Nobody understands me and no one is willing to truly help because even though i hear kind words, my world is still a big fat control and torment. i have no TV, no games, i watch the same movie all day long near enough because everything else is controlling and brainwashing, i do have a bed that I’m grateful for. But apart from that i have nothing else to be called wealthy or living pure luxury and not thinking about the poor because i am the poor in spirit and finance. Im angry at GOD day and night. I dont see this going anywhere GOOD, Almost feel like Jesus is mocking me and using me. Im not judging but thats how i feel. i feel hurt and mocked and lied to. i tried to help others but my heart is too broken to truly feel for others anymore. i feel as if im the computer programme for existence. I get called a DOG day and night, I feel even hurt going to the toilet without being watched and waiting by GOD for me to have a wrong or dirty humiliating thought. I have the most scary miserable life ever and its getting worse everyday. i try to ask GOD for help and i get HELL in return. Its horrible. So if you are going through a hard time, Just know I’m worse than anyone out there if there is anyone out there. Sorry for making this about myself but i just had to say it for some reason lol. Im not a nice guy by the way, Just a fool. But i do hope if you are having a hard time, there may be someone out there that will help you, i.e GOD. Surely he loves his creation and he know all the weaknesses you have and loves you anyhow. I hope hes not like me to be easily offended. God bless & Take care.

  9. […] “Then what? Sit naked in the forest eating berries?” […]

    • J Boitson says:

      What then? Well… make your life about others. Don’t spend your time thinking about your desires rather about how best you can ease the suffering of others. Don’t strive to earn more money so that you can get more things rather strive to earn more money so that you may have even more to give. Read Isaiah 58 if your question is genuine.

    • thinkingofthings says:

      Hi, I read your post Firoozy.

      First, I am sorry to see that you are having a difficult time both in fellowship and your relationship with the Father. Try to remember that it is through our trials that we are refined into pure gold! I know that it is hard, but I do believe in the Word both in the physical aspect and the Word (Jesus) in the spiritual aspect. To have that longed for freedom, it is important that we have something in this world to hold on to, what we have is the grace that is given to us and the faith in the Word.

      The first thing you said was, “I cant seem to believe in some the things Jesus says but im too scared to turn away. Something keeps bothering me to follow these teachings. Although i admit i feel like I’ve lost the race already and my heart has become a stone and somehow I’m always expecting a regrettable end.”

      I also read the rest of your post and the first few things that come to mind are: It is not by works, but by grace that we are saved. Meaning, and it takes time to understand, but it is the Father that called us into His kingdom here on earth. It is not by anything that we “do”. He called the tax collector, He called Paul, He called you and He called me. Once we can come to the understanding that it is Him that either opens doors, closes doors, it is Him that creates our path and it is not by anything that we do that can make something happen.

      Yes, we move, we go to school, we work, we pay our bills, I don’t mean do nothing, but in the end, it is Him that makes our way. We just need to do what we know to do, try our best, pray a ton, and trust in Jesus. For it is Him, through the Spirit that teaches us all things. When we grasp this, it becomes our freedom!

      2). I feel that the enemy is attacking you the enemy is giving you condemnation, and fear, which is not from the Father. You said, ” im too scared”. This is a lie from the enemy who roams the earth seeking whom he may devour. You are a living child of God, a royal priesthood, full of His mercy, love and grace. That is why you are under attack. I think. Why would the enemy attack those who are already lost or those who do not believe?

      You also said, ” i wish there was someone too to keep me on the narrow path instead of me always fighting things i cannot see and being filled with all sorts of advice from all over the place.” There is a time in our life when the Father tries to teach us not to look to man. I know, its hard. Fellowship is important, very important but the right people, the right ones. This world is full of evil and lies, it has been so from when the serpent (Satan) told the first lie to Eve at the tree.

      Jesus wants to be first, in all things…meaning, that we cannot lean on man but He wants us to lean on Him. Learn to hear His voice.

      I would say, Listen/read the gospels only for something like 30 days. Get to know Jesus again, if you look at the history of the bible, you will be amazed at how it is so blended together like a tapestry. The dead sea scrolls were found in the 70’s, in a cave. The script is the exact same script that we have in Isiah, Psalms and Genesis. First, these stories were passed down verbally, then written, thousands of years before the scrolls were found. No person can do that, only the Lord.

      Read the gospels, learn of Jesus, pray. Get to know Him as your friend.
      He loves you, He created you, He made you just as you are, perfect because you are His child. It is the enemy that is giving you fear for your salvation, doubt in your relationship, condemnation to tear you apart. Don’t let him. Recognize it when it happens and just tell it to stop. Fill your mind with the gospels and the Father will do the rest.

      Don’t look at the world’s measurement of worth, look at the Fathers.

      I know it is not easy and I’ve been through a ton. And He is still working in my life. Looking back, He has given me strength and He will do the same for you.

      God Bless

      • Sadegh Firoozy says:

        Hi there thinkingofthings, I appreciate your comment and I have to say it is very understandable. I think I’m slowly learning a thing or Two so without talking too much I’d like to thank you for your honest support and will put your advice to work. Many thanks stranger. Maybe one day your comments will be as precious as gold in time of need too. Who knows. But you made it very clear. I will keep in mind and move forward as if I have any choice anyhow. Thanks for your time friend. Take care and God bless you too.

        • Lindy says:

          He is right, you are under attack. In addition, you have to forgive yourself, and anyone else you haven’t forgiven–hence the tormentors. Say, the Lord rebuke thee satan, until that miserable enemy flees. Take your thoughts captive–when the thought comes to commit sexual sin, say Not my will but yours be done Lord–please save me. Perish the thought. Keep praying until you get an answer-if you fall, get up, brush yourself off, and pray again until you get an answer. I promise you it works. Jesus loves you and He is for you. If he wasn’t drawing you , you wouldn’t care. Be blessed brother.

  10. Jessica says:

    Our possessions do seem to own us.

    We want so we buy. But what we do not realize is that our wanting will never be satisfied. Our greed, lust, and gluttony are like black holes. They can never be satisfied with stuff. Only God can fill us up. Imagine that; everyone’s heart a black hole that only God can fill. Each human that was ever born. Astounding, don’t you think?

    • J Boitson says:

      Knowing this, do you still try to fill that hole with stuff? Has this knowledge caused you to deny yourself? Not an attack, just curious. I believe that the narrow path is difficult and without other narrow pathers to help it is very difficult.

  11. thinkingofthings says:

    I’ve always considered this scripture and wonder if some are “called” and others are not. I find my material “things” can be a burden and I do not have much, I am old, rent a room and that is about all. But the burden of working day in with non believers and watching the world fall deeper into deceptions makes it more difficult to move on. I am older, single and a woman, so to not have a safe place to put my head scares me. Believe me, the older a woman gets, if she is single becomes…umm invisible even in the church. We are to “babysit” help in the kitchen and be alone after church every Sunday and on holidays. Community living sounds more and more appealing with other believers and to walk around serving others sharing in the Lord. I wonder how it works when one gets much older and needs health care and cannot do their part in the community anymore. How does that work?

    I love the concept that by selling all and following Jesus, you get much closer to Him! I wish there were communities like what you talk about in the states, I would give them a visit! haha

  12. Catherine Mwaniki says:

    I believe that Jesus meant was to give out your heart. You see where your treasure is so is your heart…. the rich man wealth was his treasure and there was his heart. Even if it’s your wife, child, husband, money, employment, Business etc…that you treasure more then there is where your heart will be… to cut this short, For you to follow Jesus you must sell your treasure and Make him your number one in your heart.
    Be blessed

  13. Kevin walker gregory says:

    I want to sale my nice home sale all my trucks cars boat tools everything that I have worked for and follow god. But at the same time I’m scared because I don’t know we’re I’m gonna go or what I’m gonna do or how I’m gonna do it. I know I will be ok. but I just don’t know. I know this when I’m on my death bed I don’t want to be in regret I want to be in peace and love. But I’m trying to figure that part out. It’s like I finally made it to the edge of the cliff but I just can’t take the leap yet. I need some guidance. Understanding. I don’t want to work for things anymore I want to work for love. I won’t remember the things or even care about them. When I’m on my death bed or even dead. But i will remember love, love is forever I want to be part of forever.

    • Goodwin says:

      Hi Kevin,

      This lesson or would I say admonishing was specific to that rich man. Not specific to you as a rich man. But where it becomes a general lesson and warning to every rich man is Jesus statement in Matthew 19:23-24.
      Jesus was willing to give the rich man more than he requested. The rich man needed an eternal life, he kept all the commandments he knew, but there were few he wasn’t keepin. He obyed God but didn’t love Him, he loved his riches than he loved God, his heart was focused on the wealth he possessed. He wasn’t helping the poor. “The poor” here means everyone in need, that includes, the sick, orphans, helpless, destitute, widows, needy, etc. The rich man never thought of such people let alone render any help. Thus the giver of eternal life knew that the rich man failed so much in that area. Because Jesus already admired him, He decided to offer him eternal life and discipleship. No one could work with Jesus as a disciple before His death without having to abandon everything first. The reason why Jesus told the rich man to sell everything, give it to the poor then come back and follow Him was because he wanted to integrate him into His fold, simply make him one of His disciples.
      This wasn’t a general lesson for all.
      Thank you

  14. Noema says:

    Why in universal church asking people to sell your possession, offer all your money in the bAnk and god will treasure you more than 10X? I can’t understand of words from universal church is pretty obvious of manipulating people to offer everything to God? But how? God is a Holy Spirit, he doesn’t needs all of these, God needs our faith

  15. George says:

    As a recovering Catholic, 40 year agnostic, and born again Christian who tieths 10% to my church, I find this command most confusing. Our pastor has done sermons on this as well. Question: Who did Jesus expect us to sell everything to? And then, who would they sell everything they have acquired and own to? Would we only sell our things to the poor? Of course not, they are poor and don’t have the means. Where would all this wealth end up in the end? Isn’t this really all just a redistribution of wealth program proving Jesus was a socialist? And what if our enemies buy our stuff from us, including our weapons? Could this command from Jesus be a death sentence for Christians? How do we put on our armor if we sold it to our enemies?

    College taught me from wealth comes taxes. From taxes comes social services. From wealth comes charity, free healthcare, food stamps, etc. Charity and generosity is virtuous. Could Jesus have simply meant give all that you simply don’t need to those less fortunate and simply detest the love of things? And why is it that those like Jesus who had nothing are the ones asking others to give their stuff away? Would Jesus have been able to eat the bread, drink the wine, had it all been givin away the day before? It’s a conundrum .

  16. Jeanne Wysocki says:

    I understand the selling of every thing and giving to the poor. What I don’t understand is why the Apostles were to leave their families. I this days women were taken care of by their husbands, when she was widowed the oldest son took care of her but what if her children were young, why would Jesus require them to leave the fill, they would surley starve and be destitute. Why was it a requirement to leave their children, why was this acceptable?

  17. Robert says:

    That’s true massage God bless you

  18. Goodwin says:

    Haven’t read Matthew 19:16-30 with deep research. Here is my conclusion. First Jesus was addressing the case of one person here being a rich man, though this should serve as a lesson to all rich men but that’s only to the rich men who fell in the category of the rich man Jesus Christ was referring to in this chapter. Before I continue, I’ll like to stress out here that some Biblical examples are given to serve for general lesson and there are some that should serve for some specific lesson. When studying the Bible, we should take these facts into account. Remember Jesus though in human form was still God and remains God who is most knowledgeable. He knows every human and that includes their thoughts, deeds in the present or future.

    This brings me back to the real subject. In reality, did Jesus really wanted the rich man to “sell all his properties and give it to the poor then come back and follow him”?
    From my study of Matthew 19:16-30, I can say YES! Why? The rich man had kept all the commandments in verse 18 and 19, except one. He interrupted Jesus while he was yet speaking by saying he kept all those commandments right from his youth. But Jesus being God knew this man was extremely rich, his heart was completely attached to it and he was not helping the poor, needy and sick around him with his wealth. Let’s go back to the rich man’s initial question Matthew 19:16b “Good Master, What good things shall I do that I may have eternal life” Jesus being the giver of eternal life wanted to recover this man to himself. It has never been easy to win a rich man to Christ in the days of Jesus and in this present time. There was much work to do on this rich man before he could receive the eternal life he was longing for. Thus There was a need for him to become one of His disciples. At this point Jesus chose this rich man. That’s when the problem started. Let’s go back to memory lane. All the disciples who followed Jesus were once having their own occupation or involved in one business or the other, but once they were initiated into His kingdom, these people were no more running their personal business apart from following Jesus Christ and going about the business of the Gospel. Jesus wanted to refine and use the rich man. It was as a result of this He gave him further instructions in Matthew 19:21. He, the giver of eternal life new that no rich man still having so much wealth in his possession would follow Him without looking back. He knew that no rich man would have accepted to bear the cross if they still had external businesses to think of.

    To confirm this, see the man’s reaction in Matthew 19:22. Jesus was still in search of disciples. He was happy that a rich man could approach Him with the need to receive eternal life and He was ready to give not just eternal life but also make him His disciple which the man rejected due to how attached he was to his earthly riches.

    There was no coded meaning to what Jesus said in Matthew 19:21. He wasn’t saying Mr rich man put me in your heart even if you’re rich. Jesus literarily wanted the dude to sell everything and follow Him because he wanted to make him fisher of men, He wanted to use him to teach others the heavenly riches.

    There’s a lot to learn from this Bible passage if we dig more deep.

  19. Jeff says:

    Wow, reading these comments is scary and depressing. The darkness is so deep and seemingly impenetrable. Satan uses the words of Jesus to torment people in so many ways because they don’t understand the purpose of His words or ministry.

    Jesus was NOT giving us rules to follow or things to do that would get us into Heaven. He was revealing, by His impossible demands upon the life of Adam, that we all need a new LIFE. He was showing that we are all unrighteous. He was taking the Law and going deeper with it to expose the iniquity of us all. If anyone thought they qualified He would just go deeper until they saw that they did not. Then and only then could they understand that He is the ONLY way and the ONLY LIFE acceptable to the Father. What the Father truly wanted was for them to realize only His LIFE is righteous. He wanted them to believe in the LIFE He sent down to them and demonstrated before them. That LIFE is called Jesus Christ.

    It is not those who do enough who will make it to Heaven. It is only those who believe in the LIFE of God called Jesus Christ. It is only those who come to the realization that there are none righteous, no not one and who stop trying to produce something acceptable to God but rather believe in His LIFE alone, that will be saved. In the end those who believe will be swallowed up completely in His LIFE and only His righteousness will manifest for eternity. We are not here to perform well enough, we are here to learn only He can. We are here to learn to reject our own lives, our own knowledge of good and evil, our own wills and ideas and to believe in Him alone.

    You cannot understand what Jesus was doing unless you understand the purpose of the Law of God in the first place. This is very clearly taught in the book of Romans. The Law was not given to Adam’s descendants so they could get to Heaven by following it. It was given to them the reveal their unrighteousness. It was put in place to expose their sinful nature. It was the schoolmaster sent to teach them that they all need Jesus, the LIFE of God, the only true righteousness. NO ONE ever has or ever will follow the commands of God perfectly because it is impossible for anyone but God alone to do. Without the LIFE of God we will all perish.

    Yes His words are all true. Those who love Him keep His commandments perfectly. What this reveals is that none of us truly love Him. There is only one LIFE that does. It is the AGAPE LIFE of God. It, or HE, is called Jesus Christ. The one who believes in and receives this LIFE can have the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him.

    The demands of the Word of God will continue to torment all who are born of Adam until they come to this realization, until they know the truth. When they find out the truth they will be made free. Jesus is the end of the Law for all who believe. He is the end of all the righteous demands of God upon the life of Adam. He Himself is the Way and there is no other. The way is not to sell your possessions, stop lusting, stop hating, etc.

    Even if someone sells all their possessions and gives the money to the poor and follows every commandment to the best of their ability, their righteousness is still like filthy rags in God’s presence. There will ALWAYS be something they lack. There will always be sin present. The life of Adam is not just a sinner. It is sin itself. It is not the LIFE of God, which is the only righteous life.

    When the disciples witnessed the encounter Jesus had with the rich young ruler they were shocked and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered, “What is IMPOSSIBLE with man is possible with God.” Jesus himself acknowledged His demands on the life of Adam were impossible. They were meant to be.

    What work does God require of us?

    John 6:28-29 “Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

    God does not require for us to perform well enough to make it into Heaven. He requires that we believe in the one that He has sent. A person can live their entire life in selfishness and at the end of it come to the realization that there is only one Good and that is Jesus and then die and be saved. Another can live their whole life trying to do enough to make it, living under the deception that Adam can produce something good, and perish when they die. Why? Because one believed in the LIFE and the other never realized there is only one LIFE that pleases the Father. The latter never truly believed in Jesus, the way, the truth and the LIFE. They never got their name written down in the only book that matter. The same book the thief on the cross was penned in through his realization of the truth: “We deserve this but this one has done NO wrong.”

    Our job is NOT to do what only LIFE can do. It is to believe in the LIFE of God and to reject our own life. The more our eyes are glued to the Cross where He crucified the life of Adam, where He became our unrighteous life and put it to death, the more we can learn to believe in His Life and confess what He HAS accomplished and then and only then will His LIFE start manifesting in us and among us. When His LIFE manifest we won’t have to try to do what is right because His LIFE is righteousness itself. Where His LIFE is there is no law, demands, rules, standards, etc. There is just righteousness.

    This does not mean God does not want to see us loving each other and giving up ourselves for one another. It means that only LIFE can do that. The ONLY way for LIFE to show up is by faith and confession in the true work of the Cross, NOT by trying to imitate it or act like it in order to satisfy God’s demands.

    What nearly everyone here is missing is the Gospel. The fact that we were crucified with Jesus Christ and now we have access to the perfect, righteous LIFE of God. The LIFE we now have is not our own. It is the LIFE seated at the right hand. It is God’s perfect LIFE. It can only be laid hold of by faith. We may not see it fully manifesting until we step out of these troublesome vessels but it is now ours none the less. We are not called to be righteous for God. We are made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus through the work of the Cross.

  20. Paul says:

    I love the point

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The author

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Check out my YouTube channel!

A Living Alternative

God vs Inequality

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