Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Who Is Our God?
When a rich, young ruler came to Jesus to ask Him what he must do to inherit eternal life, he asked the wrong question. Every other religion outside of Christianity is about what they must do; it is “do, do, do.” But with Christianity, it is “done!” There is nothing we can do to save ourselves except repent and place our trust in Christ. It’s not about what we do but what He has done. To show the young man that his true god was not God the Father but his riches, Jesus told him that if he really wanted to be perfect, as he claimed he had already kept all the commandments (Matt. 19:20), then he should give all of his wealth to the poor and then follow Him. The man walked away sad because his idol was money and he was not willing to give it up (Matt. 19:22). How many of us are willing to tell God that He can have anything we have?
Be on Guard
Jesus warned His listeners to guard against covetousness because our life really doesn’t consist of what we have (Luke 12:15). We can have riches, or the riches can have us. Our hearts should be bent toward God’s Word and His statutes and not focused on gain (Psalm 119:36). Even if we are increased in riches, we are never to set our hearts on them (Psalm 62:10). It is a godly thing to be content with what we have (1 Tim. 6:6). That’s why if we do have wealth, we should be striving to build heavenly riches and not earthly riches (Matt. 6:20). You can’t take it with you, but you can send it ahead by giving for the work of the kingdom here on earth. Invest in His kingdom, and you’ll see the eternal returns when the kingdom finally comes.
The Example of the Early Church
The church in the first century was all about helping her members and the work of Christ. This church willingly gave up their possessions, and some even sold their land so that no one in the church would have any need (Acts 2:45). I would think this rarely happens in the church today because we are so concerned about our day-to-day existence. I am just as guilty of this. I remember hearing one old wise pastor say, “Never resist an impulse of generosity,” and I believe he was right. In the early church, there were no needy persons. Why? It was because from time to time, when the need arose, some of the Christians sold their land to make sure there was never anyone in need (Acts 4:34). So I ask you this question, and I ask it of myself, too: Are you and I willing to tell God that He can have whatever He wants from us?
A Closing Prayer
Father, please help me to be more generous, to give when there are needs that arise within the church, and to trust You to supply my need, even when I give out of my own necessities. In the Great Son of God’s name, Jesus Christ, I pray.
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