giving up everything
"Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." ~Mark 10:21
"At once they left their nets and followed him." ~Matthew 4:20
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." ~Matthew 6:19
"Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." ~Luke 14:33
"If I saw You on the street,
And You said, 'Come and follow Me,'
But I had to give up everything,
All I once held dear, and all of my dreams,
Would I love You enough to let go?
Or would my love run dry,
When You asked for my life?" ~You Can Have Me (Sidewalk Prophets)
I read verses like that, and it makes me stop. And I think, Do we take this literally? Do we believe this seriously? For me, and for most of us, the answer seems to be, "no." But then I ask myself, why not?
Why don't we believe that Jesus is serious when He commands us to give up everything we have in order to follow Him? Why do we take His promises as true, but ignore the commands that make us uncomfortable? I can't help but think that the reason is simply that we want our things too much. We start reasoning with ourselves, listing every possible reason that surely Jesus didn't really mean what He said so many times. All it does is leave me wondering who I really love more: my Savior or my stuff. I may say the former, but it means nothing when my life proves the latter.
A certain atheistic website uses these verses as a means of "proving" that God is imaginary. In their post, "Notice That You Ignore Jesus," they say, "Why don't you sell everything and follow Jesus, as he requests in the Bible? The reason is simple: Jesus and God are imaginary, and you know it. If Jesus were real, you would do what he says." To an extent, they are right. When we ignore His commands, we are telling the world that we don't really believe Jesus.
My mindset on this issue has been changing day by day over the last week or so. It's something I am still learning about, working to discover what Jesus really does mean when He says these things. I've heard many people say that Jesus is really asking for a heart that has surrendered all earthly things to Him. That may be true. But as for me, I'm realizing that I want to be on the safe side. I think I want to take Jesus for what He said. Because I'd rather hear Jesus tell me, "Wow, you were completely radical for Me," than "Did you think I was kidding?"
Now, obviously I too have not done this. I am sitting in a warm house with a mug of coffee in a room full of books typing on a lovely Mac computer. But I am struggling internally wondering if I should be here like this, or if I should start really living the radical life I claim to want. So, this week, I am going to be sorting the stuff in my room to begin the process of giving away literally everything I can. I'm going to attempt to get rid of at least half of my clothes, for starters. Maybe I sound like I'm going crazy. I hope I am. I want to be crazy for Jesus.
Why am I doing this? Really, the root cause? It's this: Life is short. Eternal life is... well, eternal. And when I look at the lives of people like Jimmy (eleven weeks in heaven now), I want to be ready for the day when my eternal life begins. I want to live with no regrets. I want to live like Peter, Paul, Brother Andrew, Jim Elliot. People who didn't care about the stuff on this planet. All they cared about was Jesus.
This video changed the way I view... life. It's just two minutes long. Please watch it, as it sums up everything I've been trying to say much more powerfully and succinctly than I can. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoicm4wnQ4c
"If we form Jesus to look like us and be who we want him to be, then even when we gather together and sing our praises and lift our hands, the reality is that we are not worshiping the Jesus of the Bible, we are worshiping and singing to ourselves."
"We do not have time to waste our lives living out a Christian spin on the American Dream."
Will you join me in beginning a radical, obedient, and crazy adventure for the One who gave up everything for you and me? Because in the End, what will really matter to you?
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." ~Jim Elliot