Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

What, Sell All and Give it to the Poor? Really?

Meditation for the week of January 30, 2011

Mathew 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

Money, our attitude toward it and stewardship of it, is an important subject in the Bible.  Unfortunately what is said about the topic is not what is usually practiced by Christians.  I have to confess, I have a couple of things I could probably sell if I really wanted to follow the instructions that the Lord gives here.

Most of us would say that we don’t have to sell our houses because we need a place to live.  However, if we want to follow the Lord, we would be following One who said, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Matthew 8:20)."  The Lord “owned” the cattle on a thousand hills and yet he spent many nights as a guest in others homes and many nights on a mountain praying.  Even Paul does not seem to own property other than some coats and some books as he fulfilled his missionary call to the gentiles. 

The Lord didn’t have a car or even his own animal to ride on his trips between the province of Galilee and Jerusalem.  Most people traveled on animals, but he walked.  When he made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the donkey, he borrowed one.  I have two cars, one for me and one for my wife.  I need them in order to do what the Lord has called me to do, or do I? 

Many Christians today are concerned about the liberties that the government is taking away from the individual.  One of those liberties is the ability to earn and spend our own income without governmental interference.  However, the Lord is the highest authority and He also wants to interfere with our earning and spending habits.  He says, “give it all away to the poor.”  We aren’t supposed to tithe, we are supposed to give it all away.  We aren’t supposed to give it to the “church”, we are go give it to the poor.  Do any of us do that?  Absolutely not!  How would this old world work if we didn’t have pension plans and savings accounts and mutual funds and real estate investments and life insurance policies;  and if we didn’t give ten percent to the Lord so He can bless us with more?

I have had to confess that while I am not rich, I have not given “all” to the poor.  If that were really the way to heaven, I would not be going there.  While I do believe that we need to take these instructions to heart as Christians, I also believe that we are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus and these instructions just point out how futile it would be to assume that we could ever be “good enough” to merit heaven by doing good. 

This young ruler who came to the Lord wanting eternal life found out that the standards of God are just not attainable by those of us who are born into this world with a sinful nature.  However, the Lord who was able to live up to the standards of the law that requires us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, is still able to save sinners. 

I am one of those sinners.  I found out as Paul did, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief (1 Timothy 1:15).”  When I was first saved, I understood that the Lord had died for me a sinner.  As I have gone along life’s pathway, I have become more and more amazed at how great a sinner I really am.  As I learn more and more about God’s grace, I become more and more amazed at the greatness of His salvation.

While I do want to live to glorify God, I do not plan on putting my humble manufactured house that I call home up for sale.  I sold one house to pay debts so I could continue in the Lord’s work and I hope that the Lord will understand when I keep this house.  But I do wonder kind of blessing I would experience if my wife and I had faith enough to actually take the Lord at His word, and if we actually lived out this promise literally.

Bruce Collins

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