“‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms.” Luke 12.32-33
The question of possessions and the challenge of Jesus’ words to go and sell them were put to Mr Cameron a few days ago in a question and answer session in Darwen near Blackburn, it was also a challenge for congregations up and down the country today as Jesus’ words reverberated around countless churches up and down our land.
When one reads the gospel it shows that Jesus spoke about two things more than anything else, the Kingdom of God and money. Interestingly Jesus seldom talked about one without talking about the other. In his preaching and teaching the two are intimately intertwined.
The kingdom of God is like – a man who had two sons and the younger came to him and demanded half of the inheritance.
The kingdom of God is like – a vineyard owner who pays everyone the same, no matter how much or how little they had worked.
The kingdom of God is like – a master who gives his servants varying amounts of money and then judges them on how they have managed it.
Jesus knew what he was saying and he said it very plainly. The already but not yet kingdom of God has very important practical implications for how we treat our neighbours and how we treat our money.
In this Gospel passage, Jesus makes it very clear that the coming kingdom is firmly rooted in the gospel of grace. The kingdom is not something we achieve or earn. The kingdom is an unmerited and undeserved grace.
“Do not be afraid little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Yes, the kingdom is a gift; it’s free, no strings attached.
But, receiving the kingdom into our lives is costly.
The kingdom changes the way we live our lives, it changes the way we define the purpose of our lives, it changes the things we care about and worry about, it changes the way we treat our neighbour and yes, it changes the way we manage our money.
“Sell your possessions and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear our, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
The question to ask ourselves is where is our treasure or put another way what is it that we treasure, and the answer to that question will reveal where our hearts desire lies.
Accepting the Kingdom of God and its priorities frees us from our captivity to the here and now.
Accepting the Kingdom of God and its priorities frees us from anxiety about worldly success, the pursuit of all that glitters and leaves us free to embrace the love of God and neighbour with all our heart mind soul and strength.