by Alastair Sterne
February 24, 2014
4 min read
This past weekend I preached a sermon called Don’t Worry, Seek The Kingdom. I called our community to be faithful to the implications of what Jesus means when he says “seek the kingdom” in Luke 12:22-34. We don’t enter in the kingdom and then stop pursuing. It’s a continual, relentless pursuit.
So what can we do practically to seek the kingdom?
Jesus says “Sell your possessions and give to the needy” (Luke 12:33)
I fear that sometimes we read Jesus’ words here and think to ourselves, “Well hypothetically, if Jesus asked me to sell something, I would.” We then feel good that we have the inward conviction to do it if Jesus asks us. This isn’t a mere suggestion. This is a command. Jesus doesn’t just want us to resolve in our hearts to be willing to do this, he wants us to actually do this.
A few weeks ago I preached on the Rich Ruler. Jesus said to him “sell all you have” which was a specific command to a specific person in a specific time and place. But when he says in Luke 12:33, “sell your possessions”, it is a command to his disciples that I believe applies across time and space. If you take Jesus’ teaching seriously, this is not something you can opt out of.
I want us to take this command to heart and action. I believe this command is calling us to a lifestyle of simplicity and generosity. Jesus is asking us to live below our means and to leverage what we have for the sake of others. Jesus is calling us to sacrifice for the sake of the poor. Which makes sense, because that is precisely what Jesus did for us. As St. Paul writes, “you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Over the next week we have committed as a community to ask God: “What do I need to separate from stuff-wise? What can I sell?” From there comes the follow-up question, “Who do you see that is in need, Lord?” Once each of us know the answers to these questions, we’ve committed to go sell those things and either give the money or the stuff itself to the needy.
There is no way into the kingdom without jumping off the deep end of obedience.
I want to encourage you to pray and to be in conversation with your friends and your community about what God is asking of you. And when you figure it out: do it. Actually do it.
You may start to worry at this point. “What if Jesus asks me to give up the thing I don’t want to give up? What will I do? How will I survive without that thing?” We see the truth of what Jesus says in Luke 12:34, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Seeking Jesus and his kingdom involves throwing ourselves at his mercy and his direction. Following what he says helps us see he is trustworthy. Giving away something we think we need helps us see that we need God more. Being in need and relying on God’s provision aligns us with the people he calls us to love: the orphan, the widow, and the poor.
Investing in the kingdom in this sacrificial way transforms our hearts. There is no way into the kingdom without jumping off the deep end of obedience. And even though it may seem like giving away our stuff and providing for the poor in a sacrificial way will only create more worry, we will discover the truth of Paul’s words, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7). The way we enter into the kingdom and the way we seek the kingdom is by trusting in Christ’s words and doing what he says. When we do, we will find a peace that overcomes every worry.
Over the next week we will highlight a few places, both locally and globally, toward which you can direct your giving. These will simply be suggestions. I am excited to see how God will shape us as a community (and beyond) as we seek the kingdom together.