question about faith

What is meant when Jesus says to sell all the things you have and give everything to the poor and take your cross and follow Jesus.Does that mean all Christians have to sell everything and give everything to the poor and follow Christ and live without anything and live without any wealth whatsoever? Does it mean no one should be rich or have any pleasure in life?Was it only meant for preists,nuns,monks??:shrug:


This is why i prefare just to listen to the preist at mass becasue i think only educated and dedicated people of the faith know more about the bible than the average person who just takes it up and starts reading.The bible can be miss leading if you dont fully understand it.I could never understand why people read the bible?It should be left to the preists to communicate Jesus teaching.:thumbsup:


Hi. Let see it in context. Paul says not for us to be idle but to work to earn our living. Even when he preached and lived in a host’s house he tried to earn his keep.

So that’s definitely does not mean that we should not own anything. But more importantly – what is important in life? Jesus says,
"The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.
Mk 12:29-30

We cannot follow the great commandments if our first love is our property. So that’s the context – love God and neighbor. Jesus says what we do to the least of our brethren, we did to him. To love the neighbor is to give. If you have property, consider it as God’s blessing and use it for God’s purpose. In the Old Testaments we are asked to give one tenth of what we have.

As for priests and religious, depending on their religious order, some of them are allowed to own properties, example, parish priests.

Is God at the centre of your life or do you find that you need materialistic possessions? Of course we need them to get by in life but how much do we need. Is your ambition to get as wealthy as you can and spend spend spend and to have have have,and may be give to charity and may be give to the church if you have any left. Or is your drive, your passion for life about God. What makes you tick? What makes you get up each morning and live your day? What do you think about?

We don’t need to be priests or monks or nuns to have God in our daily lives being there. Okay we be sent to the nearest mental hospital if we were thinking God before every little thing we do. It be too much for our heads. But is God there for you? If there was a church service on at the same time as a favourite programme, without the recording facilities what would you do? Go to Church or watch the tv programme? That shows commitment but it don’t show our faith in God. What do you think in terms of God? Is he there as a friend per se or is he there just when you are in church or praying the dutiful prayers through the day or is he there in all that you do and you know all you need to do is be aware of Him and He is there and we find it hard to do so 100% of the time but what is it that helps us?

I think that is what is meant by Jesus Saying sell your things and pick up your cross. Is God an active meaningful part of your life (and that be different for all of us) or is He some ritual that you do, on the right day? How is God working in your life today?

The great Bishop John McEvilly says in his commentary on Matthew

“Go, sell what you have” This is a counsel, not a precept. From the words of this verse, St. Augustine refutes certain Pelagian heretics, who maintained, that men were bound to sell all their property and give it to the poor. For, here, this is left optional, “si vis perfectus esse.”; It is not required for eternal life, but for Evangelical perfection. The same is also clear from St. Paul (1 Tim. 4), who in treating of the duties of the rich, does not prescribe selling off their goods.

I think it is a lesson on sacrifice.

When we have our lives completly dedicated to the Lord, material posessions aren’t that big of deal becuase we can’t take them with us.

Know that just because you have possessions doesn’t mean you can’t go to Heaven. It’s about finding out how to use your material wealth for the glory of God.

Just some thoughts :slight_smile:

Chloe M.

Perhaps one should put it in perspective of your priorities. If materialism is the driving force in your life as opposed to your spiritual needs and the needs of others, perhaps such drasitic measures are in order. On the other hand, there are numerous indivduals in the Bible who had great wealth and also did great good: Job, Noah, Abraham, Solomon to name a few. Jesus also counted among his friends many who were wealthy. Those who have great wealth have the financial means to help the church and those in need, and many very well do so. Many are quite charitable. In their case they may have their priorities straight and use their wealth for the benefit of God and those in need.It is not a stumbling block. The Bible doesn’t say “money is evil”, but I believe it refers to the “love of money”.

That is not what the Church teaches. We should read the Bible, its not left up to the priest to educate us on the Scriptures. There are plenty of Bible study aids that are Catholic Church approved that can help us understand the Scriptures correctly. For too many years Catholics being ignorant of the Bible has been wrongly blamed on shortcomings of priests and on the Church. We are responsible for a great deal of our own knowledge of the Bible and our Faith. A priest should provide informative and inspiring homilies as well as making sure his parish is providing opportunities for the members to have Bible studies. But if we are only relying on the priest to educate us on the Bible then we are expecting him to do most of the work that we should be doing ourselves.

Timing and context is everything here. Note that this is an instruction to a specific person at a specific time and place. It is to a Jew, living under the Old Covenant Law.

Mt 19:16-22
16 And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
Note that Jesus says to this (Old covenant Jew) that for him to have eternal life, he needs to comply with the covenant as it currently existed. Keep to the Law.
But the young man (rightly) seeks perfection…This indicates that he was probably at the Sermon on the Mount and heard Jesus call his followers to perfection (Mt 5:48). It is when he asks, “what do I still lack”, that Jesus presents him with this instruction to achieve perfection.
The instruction is to divest himself of all his worldly attachments. To let go and to follow Christ. The fact that the young man went away sorrowful confirms the fact that the young man was indeed “attached” to the world, and to his possessions.
It is this “attachment” that we need to understand.

Does that mean all Christians have to sell everything and give everything to the poor and follow Christ and live without anything and live without any wealth whatsoever?

No - the problem here is that you are looking act the “Act” rather than the lesson. The act of selling everything off, is worthless without proper understanding of the lesson and if the lesson is properly understood, then the proper acquisition, use and disposal of goods will naturally follow.
So we come back to attachment…Think seriously and carefully. Could you sell all that you have, take up your cross and follow Jesus? The answer to this that springs from your heart tells you something of how attached you are to the things of this world.

Does it mean no one should be rich or have any pleasure in life?

Pleasure should come from serving the Lord - so certainly we should have pleasure in life.
"Rich is a term that can only be defined in comparison to “not rich”.
In matters of finance, being “rich” can only happen if others are “poor”. If all had the same, then no one is “rich”, and no one is “poor”.
That said…a person can have “control” of large amounts of money that, because of his God given talent, he uses to provide employment for a great many of God’s Children. He does not see the money as “riches” but as a tool for the benefit of his fellows.
So - “Rich” and “wealth” can be seen in different lights depending on the spiritual health of the individual…

Was it only meant for preists,nuns,monks??:shrug:

No - it is not meant just for consecrated religious. It is meant for all of us, but in different ways.

What I have shared above is one angle on this matter. Others will provide perspectives that differ somewhat…Not in their goal but in their expression. I hope that when put all together our answers will be of great help to you.


Does anyone think that Jesus is asking those present to become priests? Having wealth is not a sin. It is it’s misuse that leads us to sin. No one should make wealth a priority. If you have excess of it then it is time to give charity.

It also means to be detached from the good things that you have, and not to desire the best of things just to have something better than your neighbor.

We do need things to live our lives in this society…cars, phones, roofs over our heads, food.

When there was a very big stock market crash many years ago, some people jumped out of windows to commit suicide because they thought they had lost something important when they lost their money. The Lord needs to be first priority in our lives.

People who have much wealth and intelligence and who have the Lord as their priority can start honest businesses and treat their employees with dignity.

Thanks guys,
great answers:thumbsup:,


What you said is common sense and a really lovely answer.:slight_smile:


Thank you.

And, by the way there are some very good bible studies in many Catholic Churches. The best one I have been to is “The Bible Timeline - The Great Adventure” with Jeff Cavins. The same ones are spreading to other Catholic Churches in my area, and I called a friend of mine from New York and she said it was in her church also.

They have shorter versions on CDs that people can purchase for themselves, or they can take the 24 week course that meets once a week for two hours, and there is a workbook and some homework, with discussion time before seeing the 45 minute DVD with Jeff Cavins. Some may not have the time to do the long one.

Jeff Cavins is an excellent speaker with a great sense of humor as well. It is very inspiring!

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