“Sell all you have and give to the poor, then come and follow me.” Mark 10:21
This is a well known story in the New Testament. Most people, if not almost all people, automatically think Christ is talking about money and possessions. After all, the story says Christ was talking to a rich man. The rich man then walked away sad, because he had so much.
I haven’t found any Bible version that says, the rich man was a man with lots of “money”. We assume the story refers to money and material possessions, because the term “rich” usually means this, but take another look at this in relation to the whole of Christ’s message. Perhaps “rich” means something else.
Christ worked with people all the time. He traveled with them, ate with them, slept with them, and all of these things took money to pay for and required ownership of material things. Food cost money back then like it does today. Clothing cost money back then, too. Sandals, water, wine, all the needs of the body cost money back then. His followers owned homes, boats, nets, tools of their trades.
So, was Christ saying these words to the ‘rich’ man, and all people with money and possessions? Was Christ saying sell all your possessions and give all your money to the poor? Was He saying sell your possessions to someone, so that particular someone else will have more possessions? This is close to what we’ve come to understand from reading this in the New Testament. Yet, is this all it was? Money is a tool or resource that can be used wisely. Possessions are useful tools also, to accomplish tasks. Houses are needed to live inside. The gist of what Christ said in looking at Christ’s entire message of His life is “Give what you have to those that do not have.”
Looking at this story in relation to all stories of Jesus, perhaps Christ was referring to something greater with more meaning.
What is it that God and Christ gives to us abundantly and without hesitation? What is it that God and Christ bestows upon us infinitely, even though we don’t accept it infinitely? It is these things that we have been given and possess in varying degrees of abundance.
It is the Fruits of the Spirit – loving kindness, patience, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, long-suffering, charity and more. This alone does God give us without hesitation, and without limit – even to the point that He could fill us up to overflowing were we open as much.
It is us who then are called to let go of, giving out these qualities, from within ourselves, pouring it forth to give to others that which we have within us. In this light, the message to the rich man becomes something else altogether if he was rich in the presence of Spirit and Love within his heart.
The message to us then becomes “take all the loving-kindness that you have within you, release it from holding on to it, and give it to the poor – those who appear to have no loving-kindness. Take all the mercy that you have within you, and are holding onto, and give to those who demonstrate having no mercy. Take all the patience and forgiveness that you have taken possession of inside you and give to those who are poor of patience and forgiveness inside them. Take the compassion, the support, the charity, the fruits of the Spirit that you claim as your own bestowed upon you – and give to those who seem to possess none of these qualities.”
This is a different message altogether. To give away our money can be a superficial message referring to that which is external of our Self. It is appropriate at times, yet, it can also be thought that giving money will buy our way into heaven, even though there’s no such thing as “buying our way into heaven”.
Christ’s message is always more about what is WITHIN us. With understanding Christ’s life and message as a whole, we can begin to understand this story in a deeper way. His message has always been “Love one another as I have loved you.” And He repeats this to the “rich man”. Take the love I give to you and that you now have within you, and give this love to those who do not have love.
We can now understand why the rich man walked away, also. Because, just how easy is it to love those who don’t love? How easy is it to show compassion to someone who has very little compassion inside him/her? How easy is it to show kindness, patience, mercy or charity to someone who has no mercy inside them, or kindness, or patience or charity inside them? It isn’t easy at all.
In our world today, we have many that we see as having no compassion, no mercy, no kindness, no patience, and we are called by Christ to “Don’t hold on to all the mercy, kindness, patience, etc that we have been given and is now within us, but rather give it all to those who have none inside them.”
We can understand how such a daunting task today could cause us to turn and walk away. How can we show mercy and forgiveness to someone who is showing no mercy and no forgiveness? How can we show patience and kindness to someone who is showing no patience and no kindness? How can we show these qualities to someone who we recently have shown contempt towards or slandered.
Again, there is only one way that we can do this, because “for man, this is impossible. But, with God, all things are possible.”
With God, we can release the loving-kindness within us sending it to someone who has no loving-kindness within them. With God, we can let flow the compassion, understanding and patience to someone who has no compassion or understanding or patience. With God, we can forgive and show mercy to someone who has no forgiveness or mercy within them.
With God, we can patiently and mercifully love those we never thought we could patiently and mercifully love – others, as well as our self. With God.
“Every time we act in a certain way, we add to the totality of consciousness to go in that certain direction – whether healthy or unhealthy, constructive or destructive. Hence why persistent kindness and its companions can truly change the consciousness in the world.” (The Rainbow Cards, ©, 2017, Jodie Senkyrik)
“We believe that which we believe, because of our own freewill, we choose to believe it, and for many different reasons or agendas, none of which may have anything to do with truth. We don’t believe that which we don’t believe, because of our own freewill, we choose to not believe it, and for many different reasons or agendas, none of which may have anything to do with truth.” (The Rainbow Cards, ©, 1995-2017, Jodie Senkyrik)
This is very insightful, Jodie. Thank you! It’s just want I needed to think about and ‘ponder’ tonight.