Or is it the other way around?
“I will take no bullock out of they house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:8-9)
What do we do to “go on unto perfection” as it says in Hebrews (6:1)? I would say the fact that God has taken pains to get our attention and reveal Himself to us is cause for a lifetime of celebration. But the question of possessions. It crops up every once in a while because I seem to accrue more than my fair share purely by virtue of living in my economy. And then giving away that which I don’t need becomes necessary. But this in itself isn’t my salvation.
“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (Matthew 19:29)
Oh my lands!
Jesus makes the case for unplugging oneself from all that could potentially hinder that one self from serving Him more fully. Two things, though: He’s speaking to the disciples as they were the ones to whom He refers. But if you endeavor to be to Him as they–if that makes sense–God will put His finger on every single thing in your life so as to imbue each with His power and perspective. This seques into the second thing. Just because it looks like Jesus says to leave everything behind and take on a wayfaring and vagabond life doesn’t mean that’s what He’s getting at. Because all these things are gifts from Him. He’s talking about seeing them as does He and in turn serving them (in the case of family) and stewarding (the possessions) as unto Him. Something far harder only because it requires we rewire our notions as to how to do that which we thought we were already good at.
“But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.” (2 Samuel 12:3)
David so desired Bathsheba (the little lamb) that he had her husband Uriah abandoned during a fight at the front lines. He was killed. The parable above is Nathan speaking to him and bringing the fight back to David. In further speaking for God, Nathan delineates all the things God had already done for him then caps it off with “I (God) would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.” (2 Samuel 12:8) See, I don’t think God has a problem with supplying our wants as well as our needs. But it’s when we actively seek to acquire them out of His timing that they cause harm to ourselves and others. And it goes without saying that we’re not “content with such things as [we] have” (Hebrews 13:5). All possession and relationship should point back to the Lord. When we winnow down to essentials, this must be kept at the top of the list.
All our eggs in this basket
“But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemened the guiltless.” (Matthew 12:7)
If the giving up–and giving up on–things and loved ones provided any better standing before God what would that do to us? God isn’t to be known first by any other way than the heart. Not by “selling the farm”. And certainly not by “buying it”.