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
“If I am truly poor, then I am dependent on others for everything, and I feel useless and worthless, and I realize deep within that everything is a gift from the Father. Then in this attitude of complete dependence I become useful again for then I am empty of selfishness and I am free to be God’s instrument instead of my own. In poverty I begin to value everything rightly again. I see how little really matters, and I see that only that which glorifies God is of value.”
Murray Bodo in “Lady Poverty in the Eyes of Juniper, Friend of Francis, Fool of God” in Celtic Daily Prayer (New York: Harper Collins, 2002) 70-71.
Letting go of earthly wealth is the pathway to perfection. It marks the way to maturity and becoming useful again in the hands of the Father. But this is the opposite of what the world would say as the way to usefulness. So what should we think and do in this regard?
It’s not an easy or insignificant question to ponder. Letting go and obeying Jesus, in the thinking of Bodo, positions us to be God’s instrument instead of our own, for the power behind us is God and not ourselves. There we become useful again.
The paradox is that the alternative to being useful again is to be useless and selfish. Father, help us see that obeying the teachings of Jesus really is for our good and Your glory. Spirit, help us move beyond our fear to faith so that our lives bring You glory. Amen.