Sell All

When Yeshua was advising a rich young ruler on how to inherit eternal life, He said, “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” (Lk 18:22) Is God’s instruction relevant to us all? Is He commanding us to be homeless and destitute? How should we interpret Him?

Firstly, observe that Yeshua owned clothing (Jn 19:23) and shoes (Mk 1:7), and His disciples owned homes (Jn 20:10), so Yeshua isn’t against having personal possessions or owning property.

Then notice the context (Lk 18:18-21): Yeshua is advising an extremely wealthy man on how to invest in eternity. In saying, in effect, “Sell it all,” He’s telling the wealthy to downsize and live modestly, to sell off the extra they don’t need in order to take care of themselves and their families, and to give to the destitute and helpless, not give away absolutely everything they own and become impoverished themselves.

Yeshua is advising us all to live for eternity, to love our neighbors as ourselves and trust God to take care of us (Mt 6:33-34), rather than amassing earthly treasures and storehouses (Mt 6:19-21); our lives and all that we have are to be dedicated to Him. (Ro 12:1)

We each have gifts from God to enable us to be Christlike in particular ways (1Co 7:7), and thus we also all have weaknesses, where we’re not so gifted. Some are more easily tempted by materialism and covetousness than others; we must all be extra careful of extremes, especially where we’re weak.  (Pr 30:8-9) God does purge love of this world from His own (1Jn 2:15-17), and He does this uniquely in each of us.

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2 thoughts on “Sell All”

  1. Tim,

    I find it interesting, the rich young ruler was Not told to tithe to the local church of the day, rather, give to the poor.


  2. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Lk 14:26)

    “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Lk 14:33)

    We must not be owned by our possessions; we must be willing to let them go if Christ calls us to this, or if they in any way hinder our relationship with Him.

    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1Jn 2:15)

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