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Connecting the Church in Mission

Mission Musings


Giving It Your All

by Jay Knudsen

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Matthew 19:21(New International Version)

Jay KnudsenImagine amassing all of your possessions into one room. Don’t worry about how much you have; just gather it all and put it in one room. Now imagine selling all of it—or giving it away—all to follow Jesus. What do you have to give up—a lot of treasures, no? Maybe some heirlooms or your favorite sweatshirt? Sounds incredibly tough to do. I would have a hard time for sure.

That’s what we see here. A rich man has devoted himself to following Jesus—to being a Christian and to spreading God’s glory on Earth. It’s pretty amazing. He has wealth and he wants to have a perfect relationship with God. However, upon receiving this advice from Jesus, he shies away. He becomes sad and leaves. Right up to this point, he is all for it, and then, he just stops. How often do we fall into this? Things are well, but then we have to give something up that we never expected to give up, so we stop. Instead of committing to our task and trusting God, we retreat. Now, I understand that it’s incredibly hard to give up everything. I love a lot of people and I love many of the things that I own. Many times I cannot imagine getting by without them. So it’s a challenge to leave behind everything and follow Jesus. Many have answered the call to leave their lives behind and follow Jesus. Missionaries, for instance, uproot their lives and go somewhere as a vessel of God’s love and grace.

Not everyone’s mission leads to becoming a missionary; my point is that missionaries are called to give up life as they know it to answer Jesus’s call. That is what the man in our passage was faced with, giving it all away to follow Jesus.

This is what we believe as members of The United Methodist Church. Our mission statement encourages us to go and make disciples of all nations and all people. It challenges us all to be missionaries by spreading the love of Christ with all whom we encounter. Jesus entrusted us with this mission: to leave everything behind and follow him.

So when you pile all of your belongings in one room and think about the life you have, transform those thoughts into how you can answer this call. Trust God to show you the way and be ready to give it your all to follow Jesus.

James (Jay) Knudsen was commissioned in 2013 as a Mission Intern assigned to work with Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao (InPeace) in the Philippines. Specifically, he works with the Kalinaw Center for Interfaith Resources in Mindanao. Jay is from Columbia, South Carolina. This article was originally published in the July-August 2015 issue of New World Outlook. Used by permission.

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