Jesus, the greatest man, prophet and teacher of all time, and also God in the flesh, said this in Luke 14:33 "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions."
The word possessions caught me. While I believe Christ followers are to be generous, givers, humble with their means, I don't believe "give up all his own possessions" means living in poverty. There is often such a poverty spirit among Believers.
Whether we are rich or poor, we're not to have a spirit or mentality of poverty. Christ has give us all things to live righteous and Godly!
In the book of Acts, we see the Church selling possessions to give to the poor. The Bible says they had all things in common.
But I wanted to know a bit more about what Jesus was saying in this verse so I looked up the word possessions in the Greek, thanks to my handy-dandy BlueLetter Bible on my iPad. Then I checked with the King James version to make sure I was getting a clear picture.
Possessions means what you think -- stuff. What you have, own, started out with...
But it means more. Here's what I found in the Biblical Usage:
1) to be the first to do (anything), to begin
2) to be chief, leader, ruler
3) to begin, make a beginning
Jesus is telling us we have to give up the possession of ourselves to Him. See the second definition. "to be chief, leader, ruler."
To merely sell what we "have" like land or houses or cattle is not enough. Even the heathen and unredeemed have compassion and give their money to the poor.
Jesus is saying, "To be My disciple, you have to give up possession of yourself, to give Me rulership and leadership of your heart, mind, soul and strength. You're not in charge of yourself anymore if you follow Me."
I tell you, it's a bit daunting, no? But oh, He's such a kind, generous leader. Jesus said, "My burden is easy and My Yoke is light." He said He would give us life abundantly. He promises is joy and peace. He promised us a way to the Father. He promised us the Holy Spirit who comforts and teaches us!
There's a great Divine exchange. We give Him our sin, our weaknesses, and yes, the right to rule over our lives and do what we want when we want. But He gives us... Himself!
We die to ourselves and come alive in Christ. An infinitely better deal.
When I first moved to my city after college, I was restless. There was a lot in life I wanted to do but was quite sure I didn't know how or when or where or IF they were meant for me.
I said, "Lord, I won't be happy going my own way, so I choose you. I know that no matter what, if I follow you, I'll be satisfied with my life."
As a teen and twenty-something, my main goal in life was not to reach 40 and look back on my life with regret. I didn't want a litany of woulda-shoulda-coulda. I knew I'd mess up. Make mistakes. But I really wanted to avoid the big ones. Wrong career. Wrong husband. Wrong city or state.
So, in many ways, I sold my possession -- Me -- to Jesus.
I'm 50 now and when I look back over my life I can say with joy and confidence, I have no regrets. There are no woulda-shoulda-coulda's. I'm satisfied. Content.
Now, to dig deeper and find those areas of my life I've not sold out to my Lord and get logged on to Jesus-bay, sell off more stuff to Him and His Kingdom.
What about you? Is there an area of your life (heart or mind) you can surrender to Jesus?