Remember this scene from Fight Club.
It is right after Jack’s apartment blows up. (I’ll call him Jack even though he remains nameless during the movie). All Jack can think about is how everything he owned was in that apartment. Everything we had earned, worked for, and bought. Everything that defined himself was in that apartment. He was his stuff.
I can relate. There are things I own that I feel like I couldn’t live without. For example, my computer. I use it several times throughout the day. I write on it. I read my Bible on it. I spend way too much time on Facebook with it. If tomorrow my computer was gone I would feel a lot like Jack. I’d be freaking out.
The same goes for all of us. I guarantee there is something in your life you think you can’t live without. The truth is that you can and may be better off without it. It could be anything. Doesn’t have to be your car or TV. It doesn’t have to be money. It can be your favorite sports team, your love for celebrity gossip, or your obsession to be liked by people. We take ownership of these things and then they end up owning us.
In Fight Club they live in a house with no water and electricity. The place is falling apart. There is nothing there except the very bare essentials. After moving, Jack quotes, “After the first month, I didn’t miss television.” He didn’t need his stuff anymore.
So, why not let go of all these things?
THE MAN WITH NO NAME
Now a man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
“Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said, “What do I still lack?”
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.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
I’m sure most of use follow the commandments that Jesus lists. I hope no one reading this is going around murdering people and stealing on a daily basis. If you are, Jesus wants you to stop, but I think most of us have grown past that point.
It is not as simple as following a list of commandments, though. If it was then all of us would be peaceful and happy. We just follow a list of basic rules and that would be enough. God would be happy and we’d live by the law. It is just not the way Christ wants us to live. If it was then we’d all have to follow the laws of the Old Testament, but Christ has freed us from those restrictions.
So, as we see from this story, following some rules just isn’t enough. This man is still looking for what he lacks. Following a list of commandments isn’t enough for him. He wants to know what it takes to have eternal life.
The tricky part is that Jesus tells him exactly what to do. He says to sell all your stuff and give it to the poor, but the guy just got sad and walked away. Really? That was his reaction?
That’s what scriptures says. He left with a sad face and never followed Christ. He kept his stuff and disappeared from the pages of the Bible.
WHO WAS THIS GUY?
Seems pretty simple. Just give up everything you own and follow Christ, but this guy couldn’t do it. I’m not saying I’m perfect and could easily do what he didn’t, but just imagine what may of happened if he did? He could have been a 13th disciple. He could have been like Paul or Peter. He may have written some of the letters of the New Testament, but now we don’t even know his name.
I never want to get to the point in my life where I miss a huge opportunity that Christ presents to me. This guy’s stuff owned him. The thought of not have things made him sad. It made him so sad that he missed out on a huge opportunity. An opportunity that we don’t fully understand either. Who knows what this guy could have become, but now he just fades, never to be spoken of again.
This life is only temporary and the things we have are only small comforts. Even our sufferings are just blips on the map of eternal life. Romans 8:18 says, “I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us.” We should never cling to this world so much that we can’t follow Christ. This is God’s story and he cares about you immensely. Therefore you should now that when you give up what you are clinging to and follow him that you’ll receive blessings in heaven that you can’t even imagine. Blessings in this world are small and meaningless compared to the treasures we can build in heaven.
So, keep on the look out for the things that end up owning you. Sell them to the poor. Give them up. Let go of them and follow Christ so he can write you into his story.