What does Jesus meant by this statement "go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor"?

Does it mean that Jesus was trying to encourage people to be lazy so that they can reap where they did not sow. Explain and give examples with scripture references.

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Matthew 19:21 "Jesus said unto him, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."

    Keep in mind that this is exactly what the disciples had done, when they made their total commitment to follow Christ. Some gave up commercial business, and fishing, and even tax collection. In fact, Luke was a medical doctor. Today men feel that the more successful they are gives them some credibility to their faith.

    Jesus saw the heart of this man that came to Him, and though he tried to keep all the laws, and he felt that he had. Jesus is telling him that he must be willing to give up his interest in the world, and turn his full attention into serving almighty God. In that case you would have eternal life. Remember what is addressed here, the subject is attaining eternal life by keeping the law. That is impossible for natural man, for all are born in sin, and with a sin nature.

    This man had many earthly gains, and much of it could be ill-gotten gains. This isn't to say that all gains are ill-gotten, and when you do things God's way, He blesses those that do. Those earthly gains are derived from heaven, for they are given you God for obeying God. There is nothing wrong with gains from God's blessings.

    Scripture references:

    (i) Peter left all that he had: Matthew 19:27-29 — “Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.’ ”

    (ii) Elisha was a very rich man but left all he had and followed Elijah

    (iii) Andrew brother of Simon: Mark 1:16-18 — “As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”

    (iv) Matthew 10:38-39 — “... [A]nd anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

    (v) The Poor widow: Mark 12:43-44 — “Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’ ”

    (vi) Matt: 4:21: James and John just up and left their father Zebedee in the boat and followed Jesus. I’ve wondered would I have done the same if I was in that boat

  • 1 decade ago

    On this occasion, a very wealthy young man asked Jesus what he should do to gain everlasting life. Jesus reminded him of the requirements of the Law. The young man assured Jesus: “I have kept all these; what yet am I lacking?” Jesus’ reply might have sounded impractical to many. He said: “If you want to be perfect, go sell your belongings and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, and come be my follower.” (Matthew 19:16-21) The young man went away sad, unable to contemplate losing his wealth. However much he loved God, he loved his possessions more.

    That event led Jesus to say something unexpected: “It will be a difficult thing for a rich man to get into the kingdom of the heavens. . . . It is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23, 24)

    Did Jesus mean that no wealthy person will inherit the Kingdom? No, for he went on to say: “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25, 26)

    Indeed, with God’s help some wealthy people back then did become Christians. (1 Timothy 6:17) Nevertheless, Jesus said those surprising words for good reason. He was giving a warning.

    If a person becomes attached to his possessions as that wealthy young man did, they could become a barrier to his serving God wholeheartedly. That could be true both of one who is already wealthy and of one who is “determined to be rich.” (1 Timothy 6:9, 10) Trusting too much in material things can lead a person to be less ‘conscious of his spiritual need.’ (Matthew 5:3) As a result, he might not feel the same need for God’s support. (Deuteronomy 6:10-12) He might come to expect special treatment in the congregation. (James 2:1-4) And he could spend most of his time enjoying his wealth rather than serving God.

  • 1 decade ago

    Jesus could read hearts. This young ruler was sincere in wanting to follow Jesus. However Jesus sensed a lack of willingness to make scrifices so the request he made of the young man was a test. He failed because he left.

    This is not to say we are encouraged to be ascetics and poor etc. Jesus liked nice things. Remember when he was exexcuted? They cast lots over his garments. That should tell you they were not mere rags. In addition, rather than telling people they shouldn't have wealth etc., the Apostle Paul told "those that are rich in this system of things" to do good with their money. To be willing to share. (sorry my brain is fried and I don't recall the scripture but if you like I can look it up for you)

  • that's easy. Jesus thought he was living in the last days (Matthew 24:34). So he told people to sell their belongings, leave their jobs and come with him, just like any self-respecting apocalyptic preacher does today.

    as to if they should sell all, some people already said not, then why did the apostles in acts share everything? (acts 4:32), and why did two people 'accidentally' (the bible doesn't really say why) die when they did not give all the money they got by selling their land to the apostles? (acts 5: 1-11).

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  • 1 decade ago

    Nope. Jesus was proving to the rich young man that he was lying. The young man told Jesus that he would follow him and asked 'what else must he do?'. Jesus told him to give all he had to the poor. The man went away sad because he finally saw he was not worthy to follow Jesus, because he then saw that he loved his riches more than God.

  • Isolde
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It has little to do with redistributing wealth. Jesus asked if he kept all the commandments. He had as long as there was no true sacrifice. When he was given a true challenge, he walked away. Each of us will be given a challenge based on what is hardest for us to sacrifice.

  • Iain
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    He meant, "The world is coming to an end very soon, so you might as well do some good".

    It didn't. But it's still a challenge for the rich churches to think about.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well he tried to encourage this man because he held all that stuff in high regard. He valued it more than he valued a relationship with God and therefore was making a point.

  • L.C.
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    This story is its own reference, and if you would read it carefully, you would realize that Christ requires us to give up our worldly lives and follow Him. This has nothing to do with welfare. It has to do with turning away from our own desires and pursuing the will of God, which ultimately means giving of your self in service to others and God.

  • 1 decade ago

    If you're referring to the story of the rich, young ruler......then this was a command specific to this man and this context.

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