Opening Thoughts: Over the past few years Danae and I have been forced into a position where we have had no other option than to thrust ourselves into the arms of our good Shepherd and depend on Him for literally every last need that we’ve had. Never before have we faced so many trials and yet never before have we trusted in His care like we have during these years. God has graciously allowed us to lose almost everything earthly that we might trust in Him and value Christ alone who has made rich provisions for us with everything eternal. To this I joyfully testify that all our material losses have literally been deposits into our eternal bank account. As always my hope and prayer is, that as we read through the words of Jesus God would give you the eyes to see if indeed you are truly part of this little flock that belongs to the Good Shepherd. Let’s read.
Luke 12:32-34 ESV … “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Fear Not Little Flock: In order to really grasp what Jesus is saying here let’s picture a story of a father who takes his son to the pool and sets the little man on the pool’s edge, the father backs up and says “Jump to daddy” the little guy shakes his head and refuses to jump. Again the father prompts the child to jump and once again the child refuses. The boy’s fear of the jump is greater than his trust of the father therefore he refuses to obey. An example like this when paralleled to our relationship with God can actually determine whether we are His children or not.
Hebrews 11:6a “And without faith it is impossible to please Him” ,so the question is, are we His children if we do not please Him? The short answer is no. The Bible is clear that God is only pleased with His Son, the Person of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 3:17 ”and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Anyone who trusts in Jesus takes on His righteousness as we see in
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake He made Him to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”. So we are accepted by God through His own righteousness imputed to us when we trust in Christ. Whether we trust in Him with saving faith is revealed through our obedience to His voice. Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
So clearly the person who refuses to obey God has not been given a spirit of obedience but rather is still a child of disobedience.
Ephesians 2:2 ”in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” However when Jesus says “Fear not little flock” He’s speaking words of comfort to His people. As we know by Matthew 7:21 that many people will call themselves Christians because they may have prayed a prayer at one time or another but when Jesus speaks to them, do they obey? Obedience to Christ’s commands is something that is branded in the heart of the believer and when Jesus stands at the side of the pool and calls His kids to jump in the water, they have no issues. This does not mean it will always be comfortable, but they still do it because they know He is trustworthy and that He is a Good Shepherd who is working everything out for our good and His glory!
Father’s Good Pleasure to Give you the Kingdom: In case there is any doubt whatsoever about God’s goodness, Jesus confirms it with a promise. This isn’t just any old promise either, but one that the Father takes great joy in giving. God is a sovereign, loving God who delights in His Son Jesus, therefore He treats all the heirs of Christ (all those who have placed their hope and trust in Him alone) in the same manner. Because of Jesus, it pleases God to give all those who obey Christ His kingdom. I think it’s really hard for us who live in kingdom-less countries to really grasp what He’s saying. This is something that is literally unimaginable to our finite minds, but based on what the scriptures tell us it WILL BE WORTH every loss here on earth.
Philippians 3:8 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
Sell Your Possessions: So here it is, the moment of truth. This is literally where you are standing on the edge of the pool and Jesus is telling you to jump, what will you do? Do you trust Him? Do you believe Him? Do you believe what the Bible says? In God’s Name I hope you don’t read this passage and try to explain away it’s meaning away as so many people tend to do today. Oh how my flesh would love for this passage to mean something else, but it doesn’t. The reality is that it’s radical, it’s a call to be ripped away from worldly lusts for possessions and have all our earthy materialism stripped away from us. Of course this is a total impossibility without being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m not talking about a fuzzy feeling either. I’m actually speaking about a complete overhaul, regeneration that explodes on the inside and changes everything about us. I mean it literally flips our thinking upside down. So when Jesus says to “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys” I wonder, do you think He’s just blowing smoke, or is He serious? So the more a person has acquired for himself the harder this passage hits, which is why the “Rich Young Ruler” walked away from JESUS, because He had too much invested into his earthly possessions. How much do we have invested into our earthly possessions? The Story of the “Rich Young Ruler” is not an isolated case as presumed so many times, we are seeing Jesus take this same message to the crowds now. “Sell your possessions” is a hard pill to swallow. So what are we going to do? First of all I’m not going to apologize for Jesus or His word, I’m just going to type it out and it will be your job to work out the details with Christ. I don’t think that Jesus is prohibiting us from owning anything, but let us be very careful not to bring a list of justifications to the table. A text like this should really cause us to examine where our money is invested. I would encourage you to take an inventory and just see how much money you have invested in yourself. Do the words “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy” make you tremble? Do they cause you to look for loopholes? If so then all the more reason to start examining yourself, because Jesus wraps this up by saying “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.
Conclusion: Some people will interpret this passage (“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”) to mean that if you just start investing money in the church by giving more tithe and offerings then your heart will follow. This would mean that your heart is influenced by your actions, but that’s not what the Bible says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” indicates that our actions are determined by the disposition of our hearts. In other words if your heart is with Christ, you will joyfully and willingly place your money with Him, because that’s what life is all about for us (being dead to self). However if our hearts are not with Christ then the command to sell our possessions and give to the poor will be as unattractive as eating dirt. I’m not going to begin to tell anyone what this looks like for them, but now would be a good time to evaluate who our hearts really belong to… God or money.
Preparing The Way,
~ Shane Martin