Unless You Forsake All...


"So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions."

(John 5:24)

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”  And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.  And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”  The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:17-25


"You cannot serve God and wealth."

(Matt. 6:24)

"Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages."

(Luke 10:7)

 

Summary:

It really is quite simple IF you have ears to hear...you cannot have working FOR money be your pursuit in life and at the same time follow Joshua.  To prove to yourself that you are now going to follow Joshua, you must no longer value the material things you once lived for and you must stop working FOR money/wealth/material security.  As a disciple, the material things you do have and work for should be shared with others and not selfishly controlled.

 

The four sayings above address the same issue...the love of money/wealth.  I encourage the reader to read the Luke 14 comment in context.

In the Luke 14 passage, Joshua is addressing many people.  The text says at the beginning of the event before he delivered the "forsake all" teachings is this, "Now large crowds were going along with him...".  Therefore, what he says in the following sentences is addressing the "large crowds".  He is NOT addressing disciples who already left what they previously considered important to follow him.  All that he says in the Luke 14:25-35 is about BEGINNINGS and a new pattern for our lives.  More specifically, it is about what is required when one expresses a desire to "follow Joshua".

He basically says there are two things in that passage that a person must forsake in order to follow him.

The first is natural/legal family.  If you are going to follow Joshua, you can no longer look to the voices of your natural family to tell you what is important in life and how to live your life.

Second, you cannot serve money/wealth, and to prove you are serious about that, you must turn away from valuing it...you must forsake it.  It is very important that the reader understand that this teaching is about when a person is FIRST in deciding whether to follow Joshua or not.  In other words, it is not a constant command that would force a person to never possess or control any money or material things.  Rather, it is a teaching that will prove to a person that they no longer value/serve/love money or material things...the pattern must be broken...following Joshua is a serious thing that requires real sacrifice and commitment about real life issues.  See these articles - love or zealousness or living by love - for other sayings of Joshua that prove that when he says people must forsake all, he does NOT mean they must live on the street begging for material things or asking for charity or eating only food that was not worked for.  This understanding is proved correct by the Luke 10 saying above where he says, "the laborer is worthy of his wages".  In other words, when you switch from working FOR money to actually working FOR Joshua, you can accept compensation for your labor.

Forsaking all does mean we have to walk away from living to make money and instead work for Joshua instead of for wealth.  And just because the forsaking all happens at the beginning of following Joshua does not mean we go back to a life whose purpose includes storing up wealth for ourselves as he makes clear elsewhere.

Joshua in the Luke 14 passage identifies the two most commonly 'lived for' things - natural family and wealth - and says they must be given up.  If we are to follow him, we must no longer live for, serve, our natural family (if they are not following Joshua) or wealth.

It is important to understand that there are things other than just money that must be forsaken if they are controlling our lives.  In today's world, electronics and entertainment are things many people live for and must be forsaken.  Work and 'careers' that has no purpose in advancing the Kingdom of God must be forsaken.  There are other things people are living for that need to be given up in order to follow The Light of the world and enter into Eternal Life.  This is what the peaceful revolution is all about!

It is also important to understand an important clarification regarding forsaking all to follow Joshua.  For people who have very few material things or money - and this includes billions of people on this earth - forsaking the little subsistence wealth they possess is not likely what Joshua would ask them to do, rather, he is saying, "DO NOT LIVE for money/wealth".  Asking a person in Bangladesh or many parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East or South or Central America who are malnourished or in poor health due to poor shelter to walk away from the meager shelter or pitiful food stores they possess is NOT LIKEY what Joshua would say to them, unless they are living for that meager shelter or pitiful food store.  They are not like the young rich ruler for they do not have much wealth they are holding onto.

Most of the people in those nations and in those conditions would jump at the chance to 'forsake all' if it meant something better than the virtually nothing they currently have, but of course it would be for the wrong motivation if 'to get something better' meant more material things or security instead of new friends who love you and care about you and new work instead of for material things.  This proves the point that it is NOT about how much you have, but what you are living and working for.  Yes, the more you have often means you are living for material things, but not always for those with no faith and seldom for a sincere follower of Joshua of Nazareth.  The simple truth is that our love for the King and his Father is first an internal reality before there are any external manifestations.  Furthermore, a person can do what they believe is "obeying Jesus" while at the same time not have faith in him.  It is easier for many to give up material things than it is to change a cold, dark heart to one of love.

Joshua said it this way, "Now having been questioned by the religious leaders as to when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21  The point is clear, the Kingdom of God is first an internal matter, or a matter of the heart/soul/mind and NOT a matter of material things.  He was saying to the hard hearted religious leaders that some physical sign was not going to usher in the kingdom of God, but rather as the King spoke to them, they had the choice right there and then as to whether to enter the kingdom of God or not through faith, an internal thing.

Joshua said to the large crowds that were following him (which crowds no doubt included individuals like the rich young ruler) in the Luke 14 saying, as well as the rich young ruler in the Mark 10 passage, the same thing - you cannot work FOR money nor can you selfishly live FOR or hold onto money or material things (like land) and at the same time follow him.  You must make a basic life choice in terms of who or what you are living for.  But that choice MUST be one empowered by faith and love or else everything you do in his name will be for nothing.

Here is a simple reality - that which I love will come out of my mouth.  If I am living and working for material security, that will come out of my mouth no matter how many or how few material things I have in my possession or control.  If I am living and working for King Joshua and I love our Father with all that is in me, then that will come out of my mouth as well no matter how many or how few material things I currently possess or control IF I am willing to share what I have with other disciples thus fulfilling the new command.

The best solution for forsaking all for all people, including materially poor people, is found in the New Command:

"A New Command I give to you, that you love/care for one another as I have loved/cared for you; for this is how the people of the earth will know that you are my disciples IF you love/care for one another."

(Matt. 6:24)

SHARING!  Sharing is the key to fulfilling both the forsake all command as well as the new command!  Stop living in fear of dying and share your stuff with other disciples and neighbors who need help!  Start living by love!

For those in relatively wealthy nations, his forsake money/wealth command is as relevant today as it was some two-thousand years ago.  "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions."  You cannot be a disciple of Joshua and selfishly hold onto your material possessions and continue working for them.

How about you, dear reader?  Are you willing to do what Joshua says in order to enter into eternal Life?  Are you willing to forsake holding onto or pursuing wealth/money?  Are you willing to change from a person who primarily takes for themselves to a person who primarily gives/shares with others?  Are you willing to stop working for the food which perishes and start working for The Light of the world?

Some people, who often like being considered 'prophets', will attempt to get you to forsake all - meaning give away or sell ALL of your material possessions (sometimes to them) - and preach their gospel.  This is a big mistake as this article shows.  They will encourage you to not have, possess or control any material possessions on the basis of Joshua's saying about trusting God in Matt. 6 for example.  They will say, "Oh, don't you have enough faith to do what God says?  Don't you trust him to provide?"  This reasoning is at best, erroneous and at worst, delusional.  God does NOT miraculously provide food, clothing and shelter to people and to believe He does is delusional and can only lead to hypocrisy.  The simple truth is that even the guys saying that have food, clothing and shelter provided by OTHER PEOPLE, not God.  To claim that 'God is the one providing', when they use guilt and fear to manipulate others to give them stuff is both wrong and sadly the normal way of religious leaders.

There are many who just don't get love, and sadly this is especially true of religious people who concentrate of rule keeping and the 'letter of his sayings' instead of love.  For example, consider this scenario.  Let's say a young boy's parents died when he was 3.  His grandmother raised him for the next 13 years, and then she got too sick to take care of him - she was a widower.  The boy was about to go into a trade school to learn a practical skill which would have been the best thing for him, but when his grandmother got sick, he decided to take a job earning money so he could take care of his grandmother and provide for her food, clothing and shelter.  So, my question is to the 'you cannot serve God and mammon' guys, is that young man working for mammon or is he working out of love for his grandmother?  Or said another way, should he walk away from his grandmother in order to 'serve the lord' and 'not serve mammon'?  Many religious people will respond, 'well, just trust the lord and obey God, and God will provide'.  Nice religious platitude that avoids the question and denies real life and real situations instead of admitting the truth that love doesn't always look the way many religious people want it to look...that Joshua's Way is something they are not familiar with.

In summary, despite Christian leaders telling you that you can have your cake (money) and eat it too (heaven), the simple truths spoken by the One who defeated death rebuke the false, empty, deceitful and destroying claims of the Christian leaders.  And despite the 'prophets' so called, who insist that forsaking all means not possessing or controlling any material things and never working for anything except what they call 'the gospel', you can find and follow the narrow Way...the One who says "I am the Life" and you can come into his Life of love for one another and truly serving him!

Why not come into Life and join the Peaceful Revolution!

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