“Sell everything you have and give to the poor…then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22 NIV
The rich man in this story had piety but he didn’t understand what true goodness is. He followed most of the commandments but he failed to obey the most important one : You shall have no other gods before me. His love of money, comfort, prestige all outweighed his love of God. He was proud of his upright life but it was worthless because it was not based on a love for God and a desire to obey him. Jesus knew exactly what was going on in this man’s heart and he didn’t waste any time by suggesting half-measures. God has to be the most important person in a Christian’s life, no exceptions made for law-abiding citizens.
I don’t think Jesus was suggesting that the man give all his money away and become destitute, but Jesus wanted this man to be freed of his attachment to his things and money. Jesus saw greed in this man’s heart and he wanted that gone. One of the best ways to overcome greed in my heart is to give money or time or possessions away . It is especially powerful if I don’t have any surplus at the time. Jesus never wants me to be bound by the lies of sin including greed. He wants us to be free in the Father’s provision.