Every now and then a verse I read just hits to the core of my being and yesterday it was Luke 14:33 when Jesus said, “If anyone is not willing to give up everything he has he cannot be my disciple.” Those who know me know that I don’t live a lavish lifestyle. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment, I drive a 97′ Ford T-bird, most of my furniture is donated or is pushing 10 years old or older so I am not necessarily living the high life. However the truth is compared to most of the world I am rich. I recently went to this website http://www.globalrichlist.com/ where you put in your salary before taxes and it will tell you how rich you are compared to the world. When I put in my pre-tax salary it said I was in the top 6% richest people in the world. As a Minister of Youth and Young Adults at church of around 250 I am not swimming in a big bank vault with lots of cash like Scrooge McDuck (sorry couldn’t resist the Duck Tales reference) but my church is very thoughtful of my living expenses and wants to make sure I can get groceries, pay bills, have a place to live, have a vehicle to drive, etc… However if you looked at my paycheck your eyes would not be bugging out of your head nor would you be doing back flips in amazement. It can get very tempting to compare ourselves to people who get most of the publicity especially when you hear about things such as the story about British soccer player, Jermaine Pennant whose Porsche 911 was left at Spanish train station for 5 weeks and was accruing parking tickets. When it was reported Jermaine explained that he forgot he owned the car?!? Most of us would probably say if I had a Porsche 911 there is no way I would forget it! Honestly there is no way I would forget about my 97′ T-bird for 5 weeks. So we can say to ourselves, “Man, if I just had that kind of cash I would have it made!” but the truth is we are so well off compared to most in our world. I just read an article that said if you have shelter, food, clothing, and some form of transportation (even riding the bus) you are in the top 15% richest people in the world.
So I come back to that verse in Luke 14:33 where Jesus says, “If anyone is not willing to give up everything he has he cannot be my disciple.” I might not look at myself as rich but I am compared to the rest of the world. I have so many privileges that many around the world would love to have. So I ask myself is there things that I am holding onto more tightly than I am to God? Are there things that I am treasuring more than his kingdom? Am I willing to walk away from everything? Could I let everything go? Car? Apartment? TV? Movies? Games? Those are not easy questions but I am taking the steps to simplify my life more so I can give more to those in need. I have begun to ask myself do I need two jackets when someone doesn’t even have one? Do I need I need 6 sweaters? Do I need cable TV when someone is struggling to put food on the table? I want to make it clear I am not telling you what to give up but I would ask you to read that scripture again and examine your heart and ask yourself am I letting God have everything? Am I holding onto certain things tighter than God? Is there something that he wants me to let go? Because my friends if we are going to be his disciples it is going to cost us everything!