Do You Need to Sell All Your Stuff to Follow Jesus?
GOSPEL READING - MARK 10:17-30
17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.’” 20 He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to pass through [the] eye of [a] needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel 30 who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
No matter our financial situation, we are rich indeed in comparison with so many of our brothers and sisters around the world. No matter our opinion, we have “many possessions.”
Because of this, the readings this week should make all of us - not merely the so-called “rich” - take pause and consider the words of our Lord.
Scripture and the wisdom of the Church are full of warnings of wealth. Wealth can distract us from God - can become a false idol even.
The “one thing” that the Rich Young Man lacked wasn’t empty pockets. It was a generous heart ready and willing to give God a joyful “yes” to whatever he asked.
His possessions were getting between him and that yes. That’s why Jesus told him to sell everything and give to the poor. He needed him radically available because he had big plans for him - outside of the Rich Young Man, Jesus only asks his Apostles to “come, follow me!”
Whatever the plan our Lord had for this young man, he was unable to give a strong, hearty, joyful yes.
Do we need to sell what we have and give to the poor in order to follow Jesus?
If our hands and hearts to too tightly closed around our possessions to accept the gifts of God’s grace with open hands and hearts, then it might be a good place to start.
We aren’t all called to renounce all our worldly goods in order to follow our Lord. All we need to do is eliminate everything distracting us from following Him with our whole hearts. We must be on guard when it comes to the lure of riches, wealth, and the hold possessions can have on our hearts. If going without upgrading your phone, buying some new clothes, etc will open your heart to Jesus, so be it.
We must because Jesus has big plans for us, too. We’ll never receive the hundred-fold blessings he has in store for us if we’re too concerned with what we have right now.