Sell all you have and follow Me

The location God calls you to is the location exactly where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. — Frederick Buechner

Select for yourselves this day whom you will serve… but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. — Joshua 24:15

In the course of my “dark evening of the soul” — triggered by a contact from Planet Vision — I started reading my Bible with higher intensity. But when I came to Matthew 19 and the story of the wealthy young ruler, I wanted to run for the scissors and reduce it out of my Bible. You recall the scene. A man variously described in 3 distinct gospel accounts as young, wealthy, and a ruler approached Jesus with this query:

Teacher, what fantastic point should I do to get eternal life? — Matthew 19:16

Now, as I study this passage, I saw myself in this man. He was young and prosperous. He was most likely held in esteem by his peers and his neighborhood. He seemed to exemplify the epitome of Jewish respectability. I imagined that he was effective in all the things he did, that he went to temple consistently, tithed his revenue, observed all the holy days and feasts, and study his Torah. He had worked the complete method and had ended up at the best. That was me in spades. Every person who knew me would have mentioned that I was a poster boy for the effective Christian life — church each and every Sunday, wonderful marriage, 5 eye-catching (and above-typical) children, a corporate CEO with a Bible on his desk, a faithful supporter of Christian causes — the complete Christian enchilada. So I could truly relate to this guy’s frame of thoughts. I from time to time think about that he essentially approached Jesus that day filled with a bit of pride, asking his query and expecting a good pat on the back, maybe pondering Jesus would point to him in front of the crowd and say, “This, my close friends, is precisely the sort of follower I am hunting for.” But Jesus’ reply was rather disappointing:

If you want to enter life, obey the commandments. — Matthew 19:17

That was not what the man had wanted to hear. So, attempting to pin Jesus down a bit much more, he asked, “Which ones?” (Matthew 19:18).

Jesus’ reply was standard:

‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. — Matthew 19:18-19

The young man now seemed much more pleased. “All these I have kept,” he mentioned (Matthew 19:20). In other words, Verify me out, Jesus. Verify out my reputation. Ask my rabbi. You will locate that I have got all these bases covered. Now, as I see it, this is exactly where the young man need to have stopped — no harm, no foul. He need to have just mentioned thank you to Jesus, shaken His hand, and walked away. But no, he decided to push it just a small additional. “What do I nonetheless lack?” (Translation: Come on, Rabbi. This is as well quick. Give me a tougher test.)

And this is when Jesus nailed him. “One point you lack,” he told the self-righteous young man.

Go, sell all the things you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, stick to Me. — Mark 10:21

Whoa, Jesus, time-out! Can you think about what should have been going via the young man’s thoughts just then? Be critical, Jesus. Is not that a tad intense? I’ve worked tough to get exactly where I am, and I have obligations. Sell all the things I have and give it away? I can not just choose up and leave. I’ve got a wife and children to help, workers who rely on me, and some massive monetary bargains that are pending — I personal a lot of land right here. Let’s not be as well radical about all of this. Are not you taking this a small as well far? I inform you what: possibly I could just create a larger verify to assistance the poor…

But Jesus’ words hung in the air: “One point you lack… Go, sell all the things you have and give to the poor… Then come, stick to Me.”


Jesus had looked into the man’s soul and diagnosed the situation of his heart. You see, on the outdoors he was carrying out all the ideal factors, but on the inside his heart was divided. His possessions and his position have been competing with God for primacy. He had surrendered his outward behavior to God, but his commitment to him was not absolute. He had not created a total surrender of self he had not bet the farm. I do not think Jesus was saying that all of us have to sell all the things we have and give it to the poor. No, Jesus was hunting into the heart of this distinct young man, and Jesus saw that the young man had not relinquished his life unconditionally. For him, his status and stuff had develop into idols. Most troubling of all was the really subsequent line in Matthew’s account:

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, since he had wonderful wealth. — Matthew 19:22

He couldn’t do it. At the moment of selection, he just could not surrender all the things. He turned his back on Jesus and walked away.

Are you prepared to be open to God’s will for your life?

Jesus wanted all the things He usually has. You lack 1 point, Wealthy. Sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, stick to Me. Quitting my job, promoting my residence, and moving my loved ones to serve at Planet Vision was uncomfortably equivalent to what Jesus had asked of this other wealthy young man. Can you see why I wanted to run for the scissors when I study this story in the Bible?

More than the previous couple of years I have spoken with pretty a couple of guys and females who have heard my story and known as me since they, as well, want to go from good results to significance1 by serving God much more straight. Normally they have decided that they want to move into ministry of some sort and invest themselves complete-time in Christian operate.

So I ask them a couple of inquiries: “Will you relocate? How significant is title and salary? Are you prepared to operate exactly where most necessary?”

Invariably they reply with a list of circumstances. Normally it sounds one thing like this: “Well, we’re really committed to staying in the Atlanta region. All of our close friends are right here, and we have spent years receiving our residence just ideal. Our children are in a really unique private college, and we do not want to move them. We waited six years to join the nation club, and now we’re members. We couldn’t take as well massive of a spend reduce and nonetheless preserve our lifestyle… But other than that, we’re wide open to serve.” I truly comprehend exactly where they are coming from, since these are numerous of the very same troubles that weighed heavily on my thoughts as I wrestled with my contact to Planet Vision. But the lesson I discovered was that God expects us to serve Him on His terms — not ours. In truth, He dealt with this clearly in Luke:

As they have been walking along the road, a man mentioned to him, “I will stick to you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no location to lay his head.”

He mentioned to an additional man, “Follow Me.” But the man replied, “Lord, very first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus mentioned to him, “Let the dead bury their personal dead, but you go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”

Nevertheless an additional mentioned, “I will stick to you, Lord but very first let me go back and say fantastic-by to my loved ones.” Jesus replied, “No 1 who puts his hand to the plow and appears back is match for service in the kingdom of God.” — Luke 9:57-62

Constant with his encounter with the wealthy young ruler, Jesus was requiring an absolute surrender. To be a disciple signifies forsaking all the things to stick to Jesus, unconditionally, placing our lives entirely in His hands. When we say that we want to be His disciple, but attach a list of circumstances, Jesus refuses to accept our terms. His terms involve unconditional surrender.

  1. Bob Buford, a Texas businessman, coined the phrase “from good results to significance” in his excellent book Halftime: Altering Your Game Program from Achievement to Significance (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), to describe a distinct purpose for men and women who have succeeded in their secular careers.

Excerpted with permission from The Hole in Our Gospel by Wealthy Stearns, copyright Planet Vision.


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Your Turn

Have you turned to God in absolute surrender? What are you nonetheless holding onto? What could possibly He be capable to do via your life if you let go and followed Him no matter the expense? What is He calling you towards? Come share with us on our weblog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Every day