The Kings Instructions
Do we have to give up everything we own? After all that is what Jesus asked the rich young man to do in verse 21. Did Jesus beat Marx to the property is theft idea?
27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.Matthew 19:27–29 ESVUK
The rich young man could always go back to his comfortable lifestyle if things with Jesus did not work out, that is why being rich and religious is easy. Uncompromising following of where Jesus is leading can mean selling up and moving to another country with no home to return to. This has happened in our church: A few years back one of our congregation left to work on Mercy Ships, which meant selling everything.
We also support Ruth who is working in Mozambique. But is Jesus asking everyone to sell everything? Let’s look at how it was in New Testament times.
In Acts 4 Barnabas sold a field and gave the proceeds of the sale to the disciples. If the early Christians were living in communes with shared possessions where could Barnabas’s field have come from? People kept their property, Barnabas was able to sell a field because it was his to sell. But Barnabas had a light hold on his possessions so was able to sell a field when a need arose in the community. We need people who emulate Barnabas.
The same disciples who were following Jesus on the road to Jerusalem would in a short time return to their previous jobs as Galilean fishermen. They had left their family businesses, but the business was still there to return to, being still in the family. Peter’s claim that the disciples had left everything was not true, Not yet, it would take the Holy Spirit coming on the Church at Pentecost before that became a reality. At this time they did not know that they were following Jesus to his crucifixion. They had yet to learn what commitment to Jesus really meant.
Follow your dreams says modern society. The same society that stifles people’s dreams if they belong to the wrong group, black, LGB+, trans, poor, those with disabilities and others: all are amongst those who have little hope of seeing their dreams fulfilled. The National Lottery are advertising making your dreams come true, all it takes is a big win, And for those privileged enough to be able to follow their dreams – have you stopped to think if these dreams are where God wants you to be? Earlier in his ministry Jesus had told his followers not to store up treasures on earth, but to store treasures in heaven. (Matthew 6:19-21). Is your heart in this world, or on the world to come? The rich young man’s dream was not in the potential poverty of being a Jesus follower.
Is Jesus asking you to give something up? Is Jesus calling you to stay where you are?