I was struck by the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 19:21 this morning.
Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
This dude had it pretty good, already. He was a Rich, Young, Ruler.
When you’ve got wealth, youth and leadership on your side, life must seem pretty perfect already.
So it would’ve been more shocking than if Barnaby Joyce himself had fallen pregnant to be told to give away everything you had.
But Jesus didn’t say to merely give away everything he had. He told him to go and SELL and then give the money away.
Why did Jesus tell him to sell?
I have no idea, really. But I’ve been thinking about it …
- Humility – sales is inherently humbling. I once had my house on the market for six months without any offers to buy it – despite lowering my price by over a hundred thousand dollars (from $599,000 to $499,000). As a ruler, he would be used to just decreeing and have others obey. But you can’t order your customers to order.
- Agreement – you can’t sell anything unless you and the seller can agree. The kingdom of heaven operates within the power of agreement. You have to learn to agree with God’s word, despite what experts (like doctors) or loved ones (like family and friends) or circumstances tell you. Agreement is so powerful that Jesus said that even just two or three people can agree, He will show up personally!
- Relationship – sales is an inherently relational activity. Even when your sales is to corporates or governments, you need all the “working together” skills. Even turning his personal taste in precious possessions to money so that the eventual recipients could buy whatever THEY wanted, would give our rich young ruler the skill of thinking about the other person’s needs and desires.
What do you think? Why did Jesus suggest he sell? And why tie sales together with being “perfect”?