"'Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.' But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property." Matt 19:21-22
People resist or outright reject the faith for a variety of reasons but primary among them is the belief that there is too much to give up. The uninitiated and uninformed feel that the Christian life is too restrictive and does not provide the latitude to indulge in certain popular activities and habits and be true to the faith at the same time. To this the response must be that the same is true with almost anything. We cannot wear pajamas to work. We cannot watch watch personal DVDs during class time at school. We cannot legally drink and drive. We cannot walk into a store and leave with whatever we want without paying. As members of society, we all agree to have certain liberties suspended in order to maintain a life style that is reasonably safe and orderly.
Christianity, among other things, is about safety and orderliness in this life and the next. The rich young ruler came to Jesus looking for heaven. Clearly he recognized the benefits, but the view of salvation's surpassing value was obscured by the vision of giving up earthly things. What good is it to gain (or maintain) the whole world and lose one's very soul? The argument that "he who dies with the most toys wins" is ridiculous and points to our lack of vision and prioritization. The goal of life is to live...eternally!
Beloved, it is incumbent upon us to educate the masses about the benefits of serving God. Restrictions on sexual sin free us from the consequences of diseases, ruined relationships and unwanted children. Restrictions on alcohol usage free us from the disease of alcoholism and the deaths associated with drinking and driving. Prohibitions against lying, cheating and stealing make us better as individuals and contribute to a better society. Attendance at worship contribute to us getting to know our Creator and our fellow man, thus preparing us for the heaven that nearly everyone, regardless of religious participation, desires.
Gal 5:13 states that we have been called to liberty. Let us accept and enjoy the freedom that comes from a relationship with Christ. We may find that the only thing we are truly giving up are the things that contribute to our demise.
Loving Like Jesus,