“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Jesus’ words here about selling everything raise a storm of static in our minds. It’s hard to hear what he is saying. We wonder, “How can I live without a place to hang my hat, or a bed to sleep in, or shoes on my feet, or clothes on my back? Must I sell everything!?”
Frantically searching for some purpose to Jesus’ command, we might remember his call to Simon and Andrew, James and John, who were all fishermen: “Come, follow me . . . and I will send you out to fish for people” (Mark 1:17). And “without delay,” they left their fishing nets and boats, their homes and families. In those days it was an honor to be called by such a teacher.
I remember when God called my family to leave the United States and go to Japan to share Jesus’ message with others. We were on a budget to pack a shipping container, and we were able to bring along the baby’s high chair, some basic furniture, clothes, dishes, and other necessities. But we had to sell our home, to have a yard sale for treasured possessions that couldn’t go with us. We had to trim down and travel light to follow this calling. And we had to entrust the care of our aging parents to our siblings. In the process, we gained many more brothers and sisters in Japan.
Whatever the cost, we must listen to Jesus and share his good news, wherever we are called.
Lord Jesus, sometimes your words shock us. But teach us what is important in life and lead us to follow you, whether in our own neighborhood or to the ends of the earth. In your name we pray. Amen.
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