Lately, I’ve been pondering Mark 10:17-25, and just what it means to give up what we own and follow. It’s a tall order to walk away from all that we possess, to give up all that we hold. In fact, it’s an extremely difficult proposition for most of us, because we give our possessions a place of prominence in our lives, finding comfort in them, using them as a crutch to our self-esteem, and defining ourselves by them. We feel we are giving something up, sacrificing, when we “down size” our homes from 4000 to 2000 square feet, when we don’t get a new car every other year, or when we skip the latest generation of smart phone. Our idea of what is true, of what really matters, becomes distorted, hijacked by delusions and rationalizations that put us, and what we own, front and center in our lives.
When you think about it, giving up what we own is about more than just our physical possessions, because we also own our thoughts, our ideas, and our beliefs. It means giving up what we hold most dear. So, when Christ asks us to “sell what you own and give to the poor,” before we may follow him, he’s asking us to transform how we see things, to change our minds, and to rethink our lives. Being able to give up what we own shows a willingness to put things into perspective, to disown our preconceived notions, and to sort out what holds real importance, real meaning.
We cannot go into it with predetermined philosophies; we cannot follow in this way. As we think, so shall we be, therefore we have to look at it with new eyes, to hear it with new ears, to realize that it takes a special mind-set to look beyond the apparent, past all that we think we know and silently wait on God.