“Sell All That You Have”

A rich young man said to Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Sell all that you have and give to the poor.” Mark 10:21

What? Sell my home, my cars, the sofa, the lawnmower, clothing, shoes, and all that stuff in my garage? You’ve got to be kidding!

When we, as wealthy Americans (and we are all wealthy as compared to the world population), read this Bible passage, how does it make us feel? Confused mostly, because it can’t be possible for God to wish that we actually sell all that we have and, after it’s all gone, still give more to the poor!

If we have “stuff” and money, are we doomed to the eternal fire because we disobeyed Jesus?

Look at the passage again, the rich young man asked Jesus how to inherit even more than he already had. In addition to his worldly goods, he also wanted to “inherit” (get without working for it) eternal life. 

Jesus was teaching the young man a valuable lesson. Serve the Lord, not money. Comparing the concept of eternity, endless time, with the 70 – 90 years of earthly life, can put a few things into perspective. We also learn in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, that we can serve God and His people by means of our money so as to “win the life that is true life.” Bottom line, material wealth should never become our god, nor should our greed prevent us from reaching out to the needy.

The Apple Falls Not Far From the Morality Tree

Almost a year ago, Gallup conducted a survey on the moral value of Americans. More than three in four Americans reported morals in the U.S. as getting worse. Surprisingly, there was little difference in the opinions of Democrats and Republicans — both were equally negative.

Moral values having anything to do with politics is alarming. Moral values are knowing the difference between right and wrong and having a willingness to do the right thing, even if it is hard or dangerous.  Americans entered WWII because they believed that it was  ethically the right thing to do, even though it was dangerous for the individuals who served and for the country as a whole. Americans valued democracy and freedom and were willing to fight for it.

The Ten Commandments define for believers what is right or wrong. Values are defined as those things that are important to an individual or group. Core values may include integrity, professionalism, caring, teamwork, and stewardship when applied to an organization’s vision. The aforementioned core values are part and parcel of the Stewardship Foundation, and form the basis for our ethics.

When we perform ethically, we behave in a manner that is consistent with what we believe to be right or moral. We specifically apply these ethics to our own core belief that financial riches are to be shared, and that faithfulness to God commands that we be good stewards of the riches that we share.

Our Credo is on our website, but those who visit our blog more frequently than our website, they bear repeating:

  • We believe in transformational giving.
  • We believe that giving is a collaborative act between the donor, the charity, and their God
  • We believe that transformational giving is not about the bottom line, but about the heart.
  • We believe that transformational giving creates partnerships that impact entire communities.
  • We believe in the sanctity of human life, marriage and sexual morality, and religious freedom and the rights of conscience.
  • We believe that it is our responsibility to care for the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, and to use our talents for the betterment of mankind through education, opportunity and freedom.

We also believe that those who seek to invest their money through an organization like ours do so because of shared moral values, and whether our clients are Democrats or Republicans, both do so because of equally positive motives. We have choices where and how we invest. What’s more important—social and moral responsibility, or profitability? We believe that both are equally important and that’s why we work hard everyday to manage funds that do both.

Blind Obedience

In December, our thoughts are drawn to the event in Bethlehem that occurred over 2,000 years ago. We think about a virgin named Mary and how she gave birth to a child and laid him not in a warm incubator in a spotless maternity ward, but in a trough used for hay in a barn with no heat.

Christmas in the stableWe know this is the promised Redeemer, because we’ve been taught and because as believers we have faith that the story, while perhaps not newspaper reporter accurate, is true. But we’ve had years to figure this out. His first visitors were less informed, but were obedient to God’s word, and this is our lesson.

We recall and are humbled by who the Father chose to be his Son’s first visitors. Simple sheep herders, probably with their dogs and of course the new-born lambs that could not be left behind should wolves appear. They came because the angels told them to go—blind obedience to something they could not have understood.

Later, this stable-born Child and his Mother were visited by three kings who on another mission of blind obedience were seeking a royal child—the “king of the Jews.” Instead, on their knees they paid homage to a boy child born in a barn to parents who were obviously poor. And afterwards, refused to tell King Herod anything. Once again, obedient to a dream, they left for home by another path.

Can we be challenged by the shepherds and kings to say “yes” to God’s plan even though we do not understand fully the result of our obedience? At the Stewardship Foundation, we commit once again to be obedient to our charter in the coming year. Considering the state of the markets this month, it will take diligence and optimism. We are up to the task!

On behalf of staff and board, we pray that 2019 is a happy and rewarding year for you and your families. Peace and blessings from The Stewardship Foundation.