Blessed Poverty: A Paradigm Shift

Blessed Poverty: A Paradigm Shift

Part 9 of the Living Waters Series

Dear brothers & sisters,

The beatitudes are probably some of the most well-known of Jesus’ sayings, yet we so easily read right over them, not really asking ourselves what he means. But when we put in the effort to listen, we are often quite surprised and even puzzled by what Jesus has to say. Possibly one of the most radically paradoxical and subversive of the beatitudes is the first one:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3

Blessed are you who are poor,

for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 6:20

Whether you prefer Matthew’s version or Luke’s version, Jesus is clearly trying to get us to think in a totally new way. He’s creating a paradigm shift where it’s actually the poor (not the rich) who are blessed by God. This goes against everything that we think we understand: isn’t wealth a sign of God’s blessing–not poverty? The culture of Jesus’ day certainly thought so, and our modern culture continues to believe this as well (even if it’s sometimes expressed in more secular terms). So let’s take a moment to explore what this first beatitude really means.

Looking at Strong’s Concordance, we learn that the word “poor” in both Matthew and Luke is translated from the word “ptwcoj”: “a beggar… i.e. pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy)”. (Mendicancy means “the condition of being a beggar” according to Merriam-Webster.)

So another way to translate Matthew 5:3 and Luke 6:20 would be “blessed are the beggars who live off handouts“!

Living in Blessed Poverty

What does this mean for us as disciples of Jesus? It means that at the very least, many of us need a bit of a paradigm-shift on what kind of person is favored by God. Rather than looking down our noses on street beggars, we should learn to see them through the loving eyes of God.

But we shouldn’t stop there… Just because many of us are not poor now, does not mean that we cannot voluntarily adopt a lifestyle of blessed poverty. This brings us back to a few of our earlier posts in the Living Waters Series where we discussed what it means to practice Jesus’ command to forsake all our possessions (Luke 14:33) by selling what we have and giving the proceeds to the poor (Luke 12:33) and then working for God instead of money (Matthew 6:24). If you haven’t read these already, we strongly encourage you to check them out now for an idea of how you, too, can begin your discipleship journey into a life of blessed poverty the Jesus Way!

In first world countries, poverty virtually does not exist. We can say this because we know from personal experience: we are well below the poverty line of the United States where we live because we have chosen to live very simply by practicing Jesus’ teachings (more on that below). We have learned to live on less by sharing with others in Christian community and giving up little things like TVs, eating at restaurants, and even big things like living in houses/apartments. Despite this fact, we do not plead poverty because we have abundant access to all the necessities of life. For example, we have more than enough food for each day, and it’s mostly very healthy food, too. We also have access to health care, shelter (our little old RV), and transportation.

Poverty in first world countries is mostly just a matter of perspective, which is where Matthew’s version really rings true: blessed are the poor in spirit. Sure, we could try to keep up with the insatiable materialism of our country, demanding things like TVs, a multi-bedroom apartment/house, two or more cars, the latest devices, etc. But we would probably have to stop working for God full time, get a “normal” job somewhere, and thus become trapped in the vicious cycle of making money just to spend it on things we really don’t need, never having enough time (or energy) to do God’s work.

There are many ways to simplify our lives. Our way of going about it is inspired by the teachings of Jesus, but we certainly don’t have the monopoly on minimalist living! In fact, we even know people who live much more simply than us even here in the States. (Click here to learn about “the man who quit money”.) We would say, however, that if you’re interested in becoming Jesus’ disciple, then it may be wise to consider trying some of the methods that we use to embrace poverty because we use Jesus’ teachings as our framework. The more we learn about and get to know others who are embracing the poor-in-spirit lifestyle, the more inspired we get and the easier it becomes to be content with the basics (Matthew 6:32-33, 1 Timothy 6:6-8).

All this being said, however, we must not forget that Luke’s version isn’t talking about those of us who have the privilege of choosing to live without the excess luxuries of our wealthy society. Here, Jesus really is challenging our preconceptions about who God sees as the blessed ones.

“Poverty” in America vs. True Poverty

We mentioned earlier that real poverty does not exist in first-world countries. It is true that there are people who are on the streets even here in the United States who are in desperate need of help. But what kind of help do they need? Are they struggling to get enough food for themselves and their families? Do they have access to functional clothing? Are they able to take shelter somewhere? Is it possible for them to get enough money for any of these things? We know that very few homeless people here in the United States are struggling to get enough food, clothes, money, shelter, you name it. (And we’d be happy to share our experience with you if you’re not as confident about this as we are. Just leave a comment below.)

So what’s the deal? The fact is, most of the homeless population in the United States is the result of addiction or mental illness. So yes, homeless Americans do need serious help, and fortunately, this help is available. Both of these tragic conditions (addiction and mental illness) can be treated by many organizations that exist here in the States if the homeless person is truly interested in getting help.

Unfortunately, these kinds of “safety nets” do not exist in third-world countries where people stay desperately poor no matter how hard they work, simply because the world economy has been rigged against them.

We feel that this is a very important point to keep in mind when deciding where to invest our resources as Christians in charity. If you have a heart for the homeless here in the United States, there is certainly nothing wrong with responsibly sharing your time or money to support the organizations that exist to help them. However, we would strongly encourage you to consider learning more about the needs of those who do not have enough of the absolute necessities of life and consider helping them as well. We trust that you will find that there is greater need in developing countries than in the United States. Here’s a great place to start: World Vision.

The Good News

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he read from Isaiah 61, saying “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor,” and then commenting that “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (Luke 4:18-21). So Jesus is claiming that he has been anointed to bring the Good News (i.e. the Gospel) to the poor. And yes, that word “poor” from the Isaiah passage is the same one Jesus uses in the beatitudes (Strong’s Concordance)!

We don’t think it’s a mistake that Jesus didn’t mention that he would also be preaching the Gospel (Good News) to the rich. As much as we at Faith Worker Ministries try to “heal the blind” by teaching the rich to see the Good News of Jesus’ teachings (i.e. the Gospel), the truth is that it really isn’t very Good News for those of us with relative wealth and power (when compared to the rest of the world). We are much more like Roman citizens than we are like the outcasts of an oppressed and occupied country (e.g. the Jewish lepers, tax collectors, and prostitutes) who became Jesus’ closest friends and disciples. We, with our imperialistic privilege (like the Romans) and great religious pride (like the Pharisees), really have a long way to go in humbling ourselves before the one who we so strongly proclaim as our Lord and Savior, learning to truly live in accordance with his teachings.

But as we talked about towards the beginning of this article, even those of us who are not among the ptwcoj (poor/beggars) of the world can learn to see through God’s eyes and thus embrace the Gospel. We can learn to see how it actually is Good News for us to choose a life of poverty by practicing the clear teachings of Jesus that we mentioned earlier (Luke 14:33, 12:33, and Matthew 6:24).

Check out our articles about these teachings by following the links provided at the end of this paragraph. These articles will also explain how choosing to become one of the ptwcoj by following Jesus’ teachings helps us embody the ultimate goal of the Christian life: love for God, neighbor, and each other! So please do take the opportunity to read through these articles from our Living Waters Series: Entering the Next Dimension, 2 Simple Steps to Gain Heavenly Treasures, and Who’s Your Ma$ter?

Another way to look at this whole issue of the Gospel (Good News) being for the poor and not the rich is this: our planet is quickly deteriorating due to the insatiable demands for resources that the wealthy have created. The fact is that everyone could live much more simply and efficiently, and the fate of our planet would look much less grim. But the whole world cannot live like we do here in the United States and other first world countries. We can barely even sustain this tiny population (less than one billion people live in first world countries) as it is! So when we look at it from this perspective, it becomes obvious that the bad news is how we currently live, even if it’s convenient and familiar. The good news is that we may still have time to turn things around and learn to live happily on less. Jesus’ teachings about materialism provide the perfect framework for us to learn how to do exactly that.


This has become quite a long letter! Thanks for sticking it out with us, brothers and sisters. We’ve covered a lot of ground, and yet we’ve only just scratched the surface of this first beatitude. How do you see this beatitude playing out in your own life? Is there anything you think you can do differently? What stands out to you when you read, “blessed are the beggars (ptwcoj)”? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, or you can email us at thefaithworker@gmail.com.

We hope to catch you again next week!

Love & Prayers,

Luke & Allie

2 Simple Steps to Gain Heavenly Treasures!

2 Simple Steps to Gain Heavenly Treasures!

Part 5 of the Living Waters Series

Dear brothers & sisters,

Happy Thursday! Welcome (or welcome back!) to our Living Waters Series where every Thirsty Thursday, we dive in to the words of Jesus, quenching our spiritual thirst as we let him transform our lives into a stream of love fully realized.

The first 3 parts of our series seeks to understand more deeply what it means to love, finding the answers in the teachings of our Lord. Now, we are moving on to the fundamentals of discipleship in Christ, starting with last week’s post. We began with what Jesus himself described as the starting point. He tells us that in order to become his disciples (aka Christians), we must first forsake all: our families, our lives, and all our material possessions (Luke 14:26-33)! This is the forsake all principle that becomes the first test of our willingness to pattern our lives after the love of Christ. It is the portal through which we may enter into the next dimension: a love that is not of this world!

For all of us, forsaking all is not necessarily an easy teaching to put into practice! It’s virtually impossible to live on this planet without getting attached to the people in our lives, the gifts they give to us, the things that we buy from homes to cars to electronics, as well as life itself! Yet here Jesus is asking us to forsake all of these people and things that mean so much to us? This is truly a counter-intuitive teaching. But really all God asks of us is to join Him in eternity, remembering that all the heavens and all the earth will pass away while only He endures forever (Psalm 102:26)! In teaching us to forsake all, He asks us to reorient our perspectives, turning our focus away from what is passing and towards His perfect love and life and glory.

Because this forsake all principle is so fundamental to our walk as Christians, we think it deserves two weeks! First, we explored this teaching as the beginning of our discipleship journey in becoming a channel for God’s love. Now, we will return to Jesus’ words, this time to learn more about the eternal/spiritual perspective that God is calling on us to adopt by putting the forsake all teaching into practice.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

~
So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Luke 12:31-34

What a beautiful message, brothers and sisters! When we step out in faith, seeking only to build up God’s Kingdom, He promises to provide for our needs so that we are free to pass on His perfect love of provision to others. Here is the Good News (i.e. the Gospel!) of the forsake all teaching! By forsaking all, we gain the privilege of becoming disciples of Jesus, children of God (Luke 14:33, John 1:12). And in the process of selling everything (the means by which we forsake our possessions), we generate funds to give to the poor. Jesus tells us that we don’t have to worry about making such a grand gesture of selfless love because God will make sure that all our needs are taken care of! (Remember, it is our Father’s good pleasure to give us His Kingdom: Luke 12:32!) Brothers and sisters, are you starting to see how incredible this whole process is?

Well, it doesn’t end there. Not only are we guaranteed God’s provision when we forsake all materially, but Jesus also promises us that by selling everything and giving the proceeds to the poor, we gain treasures in heaven!

But even after hearing all of this, many of us (especially in the affluent West!) still can’t see the Gospel–the Good News–of forsaking all. We are very much like the rich man who would not follow Jesus:

Jesus said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

“How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

~

Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?”

~
He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

~

Peter said, “We have left everything we had to follow you.”

~

“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children [or property], for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”

Luke 18:22, 24-30; see also Matthew 19 & Mark 10

Brothers and sisters, do not take this incredible passage for granted! Jesus is not just speaking to one man with a greed problem. He is speaking to all of us who wish to be his disciples. (For a comprehensive list of the forsake all principle being taught and practiced throughout the entire New Testament, read this post!) That means that this amazing promise of God’s provision both now in the physical world and forever in the next life is for us, too! That is, if we are willing to take the leap of faith and forsake all by selling our possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor!

So Jesus is challenging us to change our priorities. He wants us to fix our eyes on God alone, trusting that He will take care of all our needs if we follow through with this simple teaching of selling everything and giving to the poor, thereby forsaking all our possessions.

By now, you’re probably getting a much better idea about what Jesus is asking us to do and how this relates to loving God, our neighbor, and each other! We began explaining how this revolutionary teaching helps us achieve the goal of complete love for God and each other (see part 4 here!), but we left the question of how forsaking all shows love to our neighbor unanswered. That’s because today’s teaching of Jesus, Luke 12:33, answers it perfectly for us!

Forsaking all by selling our possessions and giving the money to the poor is an effective way of showing love to our neighbor as if they were ourselves! This is especially relevant for those of us who live in wealthy, first-world countries. Usually without even realizing it, we have participated in a world economy that is appallingly corrupt and directly linked to the shockingly low standard of living for our neighbors. While it is not our fault for being born in more privileged parts of the world, Jesus calls on us to live our lives in such a way that will no longer contribute to the problem, but instead work against the wicked ways of the world! One of the most powerful ways that we can do this is by giving our wealth to our second- and third-world neighbors through the process of forsaking all.

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need,” Jesus says! Not only will this fulfill the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves, and not only is forsaking all the first step in becoming Jesus’ disciple (Luke 14:33), but it will also ensure us treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33)!

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our email is thefaithworker@gmail.com. We’re here for you!

Love & Prayers,

Luke & Allie

Faith Worker Ministries

The Most Radical Christian Teaching

The Most Radical Christian Teaching

Forsaking all is a spiritual principle that is essential to the genuine Christian faith as well as many other faiths. (Read more about it here!) In this Bible study, we will look at the consistency of the forsake all teaching throughout the entire New Testament, beginning with Jesus’ instructions in the gospel accounts, shown in practice by his first disciples and the early Christians.

Jesus Teaches about Forsaking All

Luke 12:33

Jesus said to his disciples, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys” (NIV).

Luke 18:22 (see also Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21)

Jesus told the rich, young ruler, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (NIV).

Luke 14:33

Jesus told the multitudes, “So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own” (NLT).

Luke 18:29-30 (see also Matthew 19:29 & Mark 10:29)

Jesus said to all who were listening, “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”

The First Disciples and Early Christians Forsake All

Luke 18:28 (see also Mark 10:28)

Peter said to Jesus, “we have left everything we had to follow you” (Berean Study Bible).

Luke 5:11

“And as soon as they [Simon Peter, James, and John] landed, they left everything and followed Jesus” (NLT).

Matthew 4:18-20 (see also Mark 1:16-18)

Simon Peter and Andrew “left their nets at once and followed him” (NLT).

Matthew 4:21-22 (see also Mark 1:19-20)

James and John “immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind” (NLT).

Luke 5:27-28

“Levi got up, left everything, and followed him” (NLT).

Acts 4:36-37

“Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet” (NIV).

Acts 4:32-35

“All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had… There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need” (NLT).

Acts 2:44-45

“All the believers were together and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need” (NLT).

Acts 5:1-10

“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet… As a result, both Ananias and Sapphira are struck dead for holding back some of their wealth from the Church, lying to both humans and God” (NIV).

Christian Parables, Riddles, and More Teachings about Forsaking All

Matthew 13:44

Jesus told a parable to his disciples, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field” (NLT).

Matthew 13:45-46

Jesus told a parable to his disciples, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (NIV).

Matthew 6:19-20

Jesus told the multitudes, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal” (NLT).

Luke 11:41

Jesus told the pharisees, “Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over” (NLT).

Luke 16:9

Jesus explained a parable to his disciples, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (NLT).

Luke 21:1-4

Jesus commended a woman, saying, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has” (NLT).

1 Timothy 6:17-19

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (NIV).

Philippians 3:7-9

“The things that I once thought were valuable, I now consider them worthless because of Christ. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him” (NLT paraphrase).

Entering the Next Dimension

Entering the Next Dimension

Part 4 of the Living Waters Series

Dear brothers & sisters,

It’s Thirsty Thursday, which means it’s time for the next installment of our Living Waters Series!

Thus far, we have explored what Jesus taught about love: for God, our neighbor, and for each other.

All this has brought us to a deeper understanding of the deeper calling that Jesus has made on our lives as Christians. We now have a clearer picture of what our love should look like in practice: a love that transcends our own (limited) ideas of selective gestures of kindness and reveals a shimmering summit towards which we are invited to ascend.

Jesus has encapsulated Judaism in the two Greatest Commandments, and then gives us a new commandment, to love each other as he loved us. These three commandments give us the Way of Love which Jesus walked before us and calls on us to follow.

But like any great journey with a worthwhile destination, we do not simply arrive all at once, as if by teleportation. The Way of Jesus has a starting point and many points of progress that guide us toward the summit of perfect love.

In other words, everything that Jesus taught shows us how we can practice and then hone the ideal of love for God, our neighbor, and each other in our own lives.

So, we have glimpsed our goal: a love that is so complete, many would claim that it is not of this world, but of the next dimension.

Please do take the time to catch up on the first 3 installments from our Living Waters Series if you haven’t already! (Click here!)

Now, our present mission is to learn how we can begin moving in the direction of perfect love, our shimmering summit. We must seek out the portal through which we can pass into the next dimension.

If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else–your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

~

But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

~

Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away.

~

So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

Luke 14:26-33

Jesus might as well have said: Do you have what it takes to be a Christian? To be my disciple is not an easy path, a lazy river. If you follow after me, I will take you places that will require all your resources. Where I am going, your family will not follow. Can you forsake them? Where I am going, you will at least need to die to yourself, and that’s only if you’re lucky enough to avoid the persecution that is my destiny. Can you forsake your life? Yes, to be a Christian requires all your resources. And in fact, your material resources are the very least of what you will need to be my disciple; they’ll just weigh you down. So before we even begin, forsake them. Give up everything you own. Sell it all, and give the proceeds to the poor. This is what I require of anyone who would be my disciple. Do you have what it takes? I assure you that in the end, it will all be worth it!

At this point, most of us stop in our tracks, a million different thoughts rushing through our heads: Did Jesus really mean that? Surely, he doesn’t mean that we should actually hate our families? Didn’t he also tell us to honor our parents? And what about this dying business? That must be an exaggeration. And our possessions? Jesus couldn’t mean that I must get rid everything I own. I could use these things for ministry! Jesus doesn’t actually want me to be homeless, does he?

Brothers and sisters, we have been here in this exact predicament: hearing what Jesus asks of us, yet being unsure if Jesus truly meant what he so clearly said. Doubt creeps in, and of course, we begin to rationalize our resistance to such a crazy idea as hating our families, literally facing death, and possibly most of all, actually forsaking everything. Perhaps we seek the counsel of others who are equally perplexed (or at least were at one point, but have now grown comfortable and apathetic in whatever rationalization has best suited themselves). Now that we see the cost of following Jesus, we try to find any way out of it, while still claiming the fantastic promises of abundant life, eternal life, and heavenly rewards that come with the Christian walk.

But if you are like us, brothers and sisters, you will not be able to convince yourself that Jesus is saying anything other than what he plainly said. You will not be able to talk yourself out of doing what Jesus says because you are a truth-seeker even when it hurts. All it takes is childlike faith to see through all our fears and attachment to worldly things, through to the other side: limitless freedom.

Jesus is asking us to embark on a radical journey. We already know the summit (perfect love), but in order to get there, we need to make a start. And that start, according to Jesus, is to renounce, give up, forsake everything from our families to our lives to our possessions.

This sounds scary, even impossible. But we tell you from experience, brothers and sisters, it only appears that way from a distance. Forsaking all is like the first time we went up on the high-dive at the local pool. Looking down, we are terrified at how far up we are, and we begin to second guess the whole thing. But anyone who has overcome this initial fear and took the plunge on faith knows how much fun it is to drop down, feeling the air rush up against your skin, then the satisfying splash, and finally the refreshment of cool water swirling all around! Sure, there are risks involved. Some people have broken bones jumping from the high dive, and others have even died. But that hasn’t stopped people from doing it anyway!

People are willing to risk their lives for a few seconds of fun jumping off the high-dive, but would they do it for an eternity with God? Jesus tells us we must forsake our lives, but chances are (in the Western world), the worst you’ll face is rejection from your family and ridicule from society. Is God worth it? We think so!

Yes, we really have gone through with forsaking all, brothers and sisters. We want you to know that we are not speaking about some off-the-wall theology, but about an actual experience with putting this straight-forward teaching into practice. This is real.

So being on this side of the high-dive, so to speak, we can also share a bit about why it seems like Jesus is making the first leg of the journey towards that incredible ideal of love for God, neighbor, and each other so ridiculously challenging! Well, he tells us, doesn’t he? Throughout the gospels, Jesus tells us that his Way isn’t easy and will require unwavering commitment, even at the expense of our own families and comforts (Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 9:57-62). If we do not “count the cost” (Luke 14:28), we will not be prepared to finish what we have set out to do: follow in the footsteps of our Lord all the way to the summit of complete love.

Right. Love. How is forsaking all about love? At the beginning of today’s exploration, we made the claim that everything Jesus taught shows us how we can practice and then hone the ideal of love for God, our neighbor, and each other. Trust us, we know that the last thing you’re probably feeling right now is love! If you’re anything like us, then the main emotions you’re feeling are fear, distress, confusion, maybe even anger. But not to worry: with God, we were able to work through these negative emotions, and now we hope to help you through it all, too!

Forsaking All Is about Loving God

In Part 1 of our Living Waters Series, we discovered that according to Jesus, our love for God will show itself in our willingness to carry out His will as best we can.

Here’s our first test! Are we willing to at least consider forsaking all for the sake of Christ?

Forsaking All Is about Loving Our Neighbor

In Part 2, we learned that loving our neighbor involves more on our part than a cheery smile and prayers for well-being. In many cases, it will mean sacrificing material wealth for the benefit of our neighbor.

Next week, we will devote our Living Waters post to a deeper discussion of the connections between forsaking all and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Forsaking All Is about Loving Each Other

In Part 3, we explored the implications of what Jesus’ love looks like when we show it to each other: selfless and even self-sacrificial!

We see one example of this kind of love in the early Church, where new believers forsook their possessions to be redistributed as there was need at the discretion of the apostles (Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-35). By sharing everything in common, the first Christians were not only able to fulfill Jesus’ teaching about forsaking all, they were also able to practice the selfless love that Jesus modeled for us.

And not only can forsaking all show love for each other economically, but also socially. Jesus calls on us to forsake our blood families, and in so doing, we create strong ties between our family in Christ (Matthew 12:48-50).


It can be hard to see the love when you are first confronted with Jesus’ forsake all teaching, just like it is hard to see the fun when you’re standing on the high-dive for the first time! But those who, like us, have overcome fear with faith and followed through with this calling to forsake all can testify that it is not only an opportunity to grow in perfect love, but it is also the most liberating experience of our lifetimes.

So, brothers & sisters, all this has been yet another challenging dip into the Living Waters of Jesus’ teachings. If you’ve made it this far without giving up on seeking further, then congratulations! We look forward to communing with you next week.

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus calls us to an abundant life (next-dimension-type stuff)! But in order to access this abundant life, we must first be willing to live his Way. Even if it seems totally crazy. Are you in? The water’s fine!

Love & Prayers,

Luke & Allie

Faith Worker Ministries

Check out our comprehensive list of the forsake all principle being taught & practiced throughout the New Testament!