One topic that makes many born-agains intensely uncomfortable is earthly possessions.
You know – your stuff. Your belongings. The ‘treasures’ you cherish and the things you use daily that you can’t imagine doing without, like your car, your furniture, your pots and pans, your dishes, your phone.
Jesus had no stuff. Whatever he’d accumulated in Nazareth before leaving home to preach, he likely left behind in Nazareth. He had only the clothes on his back when John baptized him. As a preacher, he roamed from village to village, using what he found along the way but taking nothing with him.
Jesus is our model on how we are to live our lives. All born-agains accept this as God’s truth, but when it comes to earthly possessions, some get very touchy.
People can get really attached to their stuff.
The rich young ruler was attached to his stuff, too, and Jesus saw that it was preventing him from doing God’s will. That’s why he told him to get rid of it.
All of it.
Some of you reading this are probably feeling distinctly uncomfortable right about now. Maybe you’re thinking that getting rid of your stuff doesn’t apply to you because you can do God’s will well enough WITH all your stuff in tow, thank you very much.
That’s between you and God, but Jesus is our example, and he had no stuff. Before he left Nazareth, he likely had lots of stuff, but as soon as he started preaching, he let it all go. It would have slowed him down and redirected his energy and attention. Stuff can do that to you. Possessions can possess you even more than you possess them.
Better to live each day as if it were your last, because it could be. We came into this world empty-handed, and we’ll leave empty-handed. When we become born-again, we die to this world. What does that mean, to “die to this world”? When you die, you no longer have any stuff. Other people get what had been yours. If we are to live our born-again lives as if we died to the world, then our stuff has to go, just as the cursing, the fornicating, the lying, the stealing, the coveting, etc., also have to go.
When we become born-again, we leave the world spiritually and enter into a transition zone between Heaven and Earth. Our body is still in the world, but our spirit is not. What the world holds dear, we no longer value. That includes our and everyone else’s stuff.
I know this is hard for some of you to read. You might even point to clever arguments that show you can have your stuff and still do God’s will, have your cake and eat it, too. As long as your possessions don’t possess you, you can keep them, right?
Jesus is our example. He had no stuff.
“Sell what you have, give to the poor, and come follow me.”