I first heard the story of the Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-22) when I was a child, and it wasn’t long before I heard the excuses. The excuses did not come from my parents, I should note, as they lived pretty close to the final command: Go, sell, give.
I have a few sayings about Bible study, such as –
- Less evidence, more writing
- More obscurity, more claims of clear and absolute solutions.
- Less evidence, more theories
But most important,
- Harder to follow, more excuses
What I was told way back then, as the glaciers receded, was that this was an extreme case, and that God didn’t call everyone to do that. Fair enough, I suppose, though I did find sermons that diminished it to a mild admonition to put a bit more in the offering plate rather bland. Still, Jesus seemed to accept sale of only half of Zacchaeus’s possessions (Luke 19:1-10).
I concede that not everyone is called to sell everything (and confess that I haven’t), but doesn’t it seem strange that such a large percentage of the members of the American church believe their call is to wealth, safety, and comfort?