Sell Everything?

“There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me.”

Jesus in Mark 10:21

Mark tells the story about a rich young man who ran up to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to have eternal life. Jesus told the young man that he already knew the commandments of God. Yet the man said, “Teacher, I have obeyed all these commandments since I was a young man.”

Jesus looked closely at the man and said, “There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me.”

The question often asked is if Christians need to sell all their possessions in order to follow Jesus? Do Christians really need to sell everything, their houses, cars, clothes… and give all the money to the poor?

Western church folk would say, “Absolutely not!” Jesus never meant for anyone to sell all their possessions and give the money to the poor. Jesus was only speaking to the heart of this one young man and addressing his idolatry. This is not an absolute command for every Christian.

Sometimes I wonder, though, maybe Jesus really is talking to Christians today. Especially Christians in the Western world – this author and the reader.

The Western world is the top 1-percent of the wealthiest people in the world. We Christians are among them. But many of us Christians would be quick to protect our properties and strongly resist the teaching in this passage.

Perhaps Jesus is looking at us closely as we sit in our pews on Sunday morning calling upon God to give us eternal life. Perhaps Jesus is saying to us, “There’s one thing you still need to do…”

Jesus goes on to say later, “It’s hard for rich people to get into God’s kingdom!” Perhaps this is why we have seen a decline of people professing to be Christian in the West. Perhaps this is why many churches are in decline, many church buildings are empty. Long ago the West has turned away from God to follow a new god. We’ve plastered our motto upon the very god we serve, “In God We Trust.”

Jesus may not have commanded every Christian to sell ALL their possessions and give to the poor. But he did say, “Sell what you have and give the money to the poor,” (Luke 12:33). This is a direct command given to his followers. It is a command to you and me.