Friday, May 1
Scripture: 1 Chronicles 16, Psalm 106, Matthew 19
Matthew 19:21–22 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
A rich man asked Jesus about the way to eternal life, and Jesus directed him back to the commandments. The man replied that he’d kept those his whole life. Jesus then added, “If you want to be perfect, sell all you have and give the money to the poor. Then come, follow me.” But the man was unable to do it. When given the choice between possessions and Jesus, he chose possessions. He couldn’t let go. It is safe to say that his possessions possessed him! He was possessed—but not by Jesus!
While Jesus doesn’t ask all of us to sell all our possessions and give them to poor, He does ask all of us for absolute loyalty, complete obedience, and wholehearted devotion. Nothing less. We want to be possessed by Jesus—nothing else.
This story is always challenging for me. I don’t think of myself as a materialistic or possessive person. I think I’m generous and open handed. But…I also see some areas where I’m possessed: attached to my possessions—where they possess me more than they should. Examples:
I love books—always have. I’ve been a reader and collector of books going all the way back to my childhood when my parents bought me a book subscription for a year (I still have those books) and in junior high when I bought most of the Tarzan series (I still have those too). A couple years ago, I boxed up some books to give away—they are still sitting in my basement in boxes. I wasn’t able to give them away. Sigh…
Or there are the agates Laina and I pick up at the beach—another habit that traces back to my childhood. When the grandkids want them, I find myself tightening up inside! Will they enjoy them as much as I do? Yikes!
There are many things that I happily share with others…but those two (and some others) alert me to the fact that I’m possessed—my possessions can possess me. I want to be open handed with everything I have. Why is this important?
I want to be wholehearted for Jesus, willing to give whatever He asks without hesitation or hedging. In this story, Jesus warns that our possessions can possess us and keep us from following Him with a fully surrendered heart. That’s why this is important. It’s about following Jesus with an unfettered heart.
Prayer: Lord, I give you everything—all of me, and all that I possess—so that You alone possess me.