Unless You Forsake All...


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

(Luke 14:33)

"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)

"Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for my sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. ."

(Mark 10:29-30)

Summary:

  • You can't live for or serve God and live for or serve money/material things - they are mutually exclusive priorities in life.

  • You cannot follow Joshua AND have working for money for yourself be your primary pursuit in life.  Nor can you follow Joshua AND work for money to 'provide for your family', when you are not part of a Joshua Family or your natural family already has more than they need.

  • At the same time, not working to gain money for yourself does not mean you ONLY do Joshua's work - the lesser work of providing food, clothing and shelter will need to be done.  Nor does it mean you will need to live 'on the street' and eat out of people's trash bins as the saying in Mark 10 above makes clear.

  • 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 for yourself or for those who already have more than they need.

  • As a disciple, the material things you do have and work for should be shared with other disciples and not selfishly controlled.

  • Where is your focus - to make sure you have 'forsaken all the right way' (according to some man's opinion) so you can get into heaven, or is it to love other people?  The former is wrong, the latter is right.

  • Anytime the new command of loving other disciples is not the highest principle being obeyed by Joshua's followers - including what someone says "forsaking all" means - that person or persons are in error.

The 'forsake all gospel' people can rightly see how the vast majority of people today are choosing to live for money and material things.  Unfortunately, they have responded to that observation in the wrong manner.  The solution is not to live with as few material possessions as is possible and never work for food, clothing and shelter.  Rather, the solution is to stop working FOR money and material things; share what you do have with other disciples; seek to maximize the Greater work of proclaiming the real gospel and making Families, and minimize the lesser work of providing food, clothing and shelter for ourselves and others.

Article:

The four sayings above address the same issue...how to handle money/wealth.  I encourage the reader to read the Luke 14 comment in context.  For more on the subject, see Joshua and Money.

In the Luke 14 passage, Joshua is addressing many people who have gathered to see and hear him no doubt based on the reports of his doing amazing things.  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.  If they refuse to follow the real, historical Joshua of Nazareth, then they must be forsaken.

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 deciding whether to follow Joshua or not.  The rest of the passage in Luke 14 makes that crystal clear as he basically says, "Count the cost of following me before you commit to me".

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 or eat only food that was not worked for.  This understanding is proved correct by the Luke 10 and Mark 10 saying above where he says, "the laborer is worthy of his wages" and "he will receive a hundred times a much in the present age".  In other words, the important change that must happen is that we switch from working FOR money to actually working FOR Joshua, and the amount of material things or money I possess or control will change due to my giving it away, selling it or sharing it.

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 or 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.  Education, work and 'careers' that have 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.

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 in Matt. 19 or Mark 10 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 doing the new work for the King 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 the temptation to live for material things increases, 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.  Frankly it is MUCH 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 in the King standing before them.

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 as his other teachings make clear, that choice MUST be one empowered by faith and love or else everything you do in his 'name' will be largely be wasted.

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, then I am obeying all his other teachings on money and material wealth.

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?  Are you willing to walk away from your life in this world in order to join with other disciples and start working for The Light instead?

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, often a 'gospel' of "forsake all"!  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 you/we need to forsake all - meaning not have any material things and never working for anything other than what THEY call 'the gospel' - are not able to live that out.  To claim that 'God is the one providing', when they possess material things that they worked for previously or who someone gave to them or who use guilt and/or fear to manipulate others is both wrong and sadly the normal way of religious leaders.  There are many who just don't what Joshua clearly taught was the most important concept or principle that we are to live by - love - and sadly this is especially true of religious people.

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 he believed would have been the best thing for him, but when his grandmother got sick, he decided to take a job earning money at the local market 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 'forsake all' or 'serve the lord' and 'not serve mammon'?  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 God does not physically intervene to help people, and that Joshua's Way is something they are not familiar with.

Or, let us say there is a single mom with three children.  She is single through no fault of her own but due to her husband leaving her due to his lack of love and lust.  She is working to provide food clothing and shelter for her three children.  Now the guy comes along with the 'forsake all gospel'.  What should she do?  Walk away from her house and live on the street with her children; stop working to pay for food, clothing and shelter for her children and herself; and preach the 'forsake all gospel' which asks other people to do the same, which is give up all their material possessions (because that one saying is the primary principle of the 'forsake all' people) and live on the street and eat food out of trash bins?  See Mark 10:29-30 for the truth on the matter and please stop listening to the 'forsake all gospel' people.

Here is the above summary again.  The 'forsake all gospel' people can rightly see how the vast majority of people today are choosing to live for money and material things.  Unfortunately, they have responded to that observation in the wrong manner.  The solution is not to live with as few material possessions as is possible and never work for food, clothing and shelter.  Rather, the solution is to stop working FOR money and material things; share what you do have with other disciples; seek to maximize the Greater work of proclaiming the real gospel and making Families, and minimize the lesser work of providing food, clothing and shelter for ourselves and others.

Despite most 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 some Christian leaders who like to see themselves as 'prophets', who insist that forsaking all means not possessing or controlling any material things and never working for anything except what they call 'the gospel'' - despite BOTH those wrong views, 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!

Back to Articles Page