Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sell Everything

Sell Everything
December 12, 2016
Matthew 19:21  "Jesus told him, 'If you want to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the destitute, and you will have treasure in heave. Then come back and follow me.'"

Jesus said it is very difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  A rich man came to Jesus and confessed his devotion to the Lord and listed all the ways he followed the Lord devoutly from his youth.  The man thought surely following the Lord's commands to the letter would be sufficient to satisfy the Lord's requirements of him. But Jesus said the man was still lacking, that the man still had one more hurdle to jump to make his faith complete.  The Lord asked him to sell everything he had and give it to the poor, only then would he have done all the Lord required of him.  The man was sad because he just couldn't do it; he could not part with his money.  Jesus knew it would be difficult for the man and pressed him where He knew it would hurt.  The man's wealth was his most important stronghold.

You and I each have a stronghold, an area of our lives we are just not willing to give over to the Lord.  The Lord asked the man to forsake his stronghold, so there would be nothing between him and the Lord.  For this man, his wealth was standing between him and the Lord.  The Lord asked him to give it up.  It was more of a test than it was a literal request possibly.  Jesus asked it of him because He knew what the answer would be, that it would be too difficult for the man.  Jesus was showing the man what stood between the two of them and the man didn't get it.  For those who are wealthy, money easily gets in the way, in front of the Lord. If you have all the money in the world, then you probably won't need the Lord.  If the money wasn't a big deal to the man then Jesus wouldn't have asked it of him.  You might not be wealthy, but there is something that comes between you and the Lord.

The man's money represented what he wanted to keep away from the Lord.  The Lord could have every area of the man's life except his wealth.  For some of you money isn't an issue because you don't have any, but what about the pursuit of money?  What about your time?  What about your comfort?  Comfort is a bigger deal than most Christians realize.  You might not necessarily be holding onto your money or your time but your comfort level might be standing between you and the Lord.  You're willing to give everything over to the Lord as long as it remains comfortable.  You can give of your time but not too much of your time.  You can give of your money but not too much of your money.  You can give of your patience level but not to the point your patience level is maxed.  The difference between what you have and what you end up giving is the level of your sacrifice.  Jesus asked the rich man to sacrifice his wealth, to sacrifice it all.  The man just couldn't; he wasn't willing.

What are you not willing to sacrifice for the Lord?  Are you willing to sacrifice it all?  Are you willing to give a good deal of money to the Lord but keep enough so you have a vacation every year?  What if the Lord asked you to give of your money so much so that you couldn't afford a vacation ever again?  Could you do it?  What if the Lord asked to sacrifice your personal time and spend it with autistic children who tested your patience level?  Could you do it and not feel you needed to reward yourself for your efforts?  What if the Lord asked you to have more than the 2.4 kids you decided to have in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle?  What's standing between you and the Lord.  What is your stronghold?  What is it you're not willing to sacrifice.  Be careful, because the very thing you are not willing to sacrifice could be what keeps you from entering heaven. Jesus said we are to take up our cross and follow Him, sacrificing it all.  Whoever wants to gain his life must be willing to lose it.  Are you willing to lose it?

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Matt 7:21-23, Matt 16:24-27, Matt 19:16-30, Luke 18:18-29

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