Understanding the "Forsake All" Teaching


"So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions."

(Luke 14:33)

"You cannot serve God and wealth."

(Matt. 6:24)

"If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men."

(Luke 6:34-35)

"Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for my sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life."

(Mark 10:29-30)

"Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him.  For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Joshua was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.  So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.”

(John 13:28-30)


A few sincere people who are trying to follow Jesus are being misled by leaders who tell them that certain of Joshua’s teachings mean one or several or all of the following things:

  • You cannot own, possess, control or use money;
  • You cannot own, possess or control property like houses or farms;
  • You must minimize the material things that you own, possess or control;
  • You cannot do work and earn money or take money for that work.

I understand well why a few sincere people would believe those things, since there are teachings of Joshua which appear to call for such things.  The key point on this matter – or any matter regarding Joshua – is to know him by ALL his teachings, sayings and actions in the four gospels.  As soon as we take one saying and run with it without carefully seeking to understand his true position on a matter, we risk being less effective in our work for him, or worse, we are misled.

I am particularly sensitive to addressing this matter since people who are sincere and dedicated enough to try and forsake all for Joshua are to be commended and praised for their sincerity and work.  This is especially true in a time where loving and serving money and material things seems to be universal across the earth.  Clearly, worshipping or loving and serving money and material things has been a large part of the way of the world since humans first walked the earth.

I in no way condemn or negatively judge those seeking to live with fewer material things if their efforts to live like they believe Joshua wants is motivated by faith in him and love for him.  If this is the case with an individual, then they are doing better than most of the few of us who are seeking to be faithful to him.

If, however, they are prideful about their efforts, or will not listen to other sincere disciples who want to talk about Joshua and his teachings to try and gain unity, then they are not doing well.  Or if they are doing what they are doing out of fear - including trying to obey due to fear – then they are not doing well.  If that is the case, then they are yet another person or group of people who don’t know Joshua well enough to know what his most important teaching is, the only teachings he described as a “his command”.

So, let us let Joshua speak for himself, and let us allow our only account of Joshua’s life speak to this issue of what he means when he says, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple”.

 

Direct Teachings or Instructions:

 

Luke 6:34-35, “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”

Q:  If a person has forsaken all and has no money, what do they have to lend?

 

Mark 10:28-31 (Matt. 19:29), “Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.”  Joshua said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”

Q: If “forsake all” means we will not possess or control houses or farms, or live in houses nor work (on farms for example), why would Joshua say that his disciples would receive “houses” and “farms”?

 

Matt. 10:9-10, “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.”

Luke 22:35-36, “And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” 36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”

Q:  Joshua tells his followers not to bring their money or money belts – he did not tell his disciples to give their money away nor to sell their money belts.  Sometime later, probably years or many months, he tells them to go ahead and use their money belts.   Why would he tell them to take a money belt if he forbids having money?  If he condemns buying and selling, why would he say, “whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one”.

 

Luke 10:6-7, “If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages.”

Q:  If Joshua meant, “never work and receive money or material compensation for that work”, then why would he say, “the laborer is worthy of his wages”?  Should he have not said, “the laborer, while worthy of his wages, should never take money or material things as a wage”?

 

Matt. 5:23-24, “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”

Q: if those folks had properly forsaken all, then how would they come up with an offering to give?

 

Matt. 6:2-4, “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Q: If you have ‘forsaken all’, then how do you have money to give to people poorer than you?  Why would Joshua teach this if he did not condone people possessing money to give?

 

Luke 14:12-14, “And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Q: If the man Joshua was talking to had “forsaken all”, he would not have the means to provide a luncheon or a dinner in his home, so why would Joshua provide that directive?

 

Luke 16:11, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?”

Q: Joshua says that if you have not been responsible in your use of money, why should someone give you greater responsibility over more important or valuable things?  Why would he say that if his followers should not possess or control or use money?

 

Luke 17:1, 7-10, “He said to his disciples…Which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? 9 He does not thank the servant because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10 So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”

Q:  Why would he say to his disciples, “which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep…” if he expects his disciples to “forsake all”?  Obviously he was speaking to people who owned land, homes, farms and servants.

 

Luke 17:30-31, “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out…”

Q: If he condemns those who don’t “forsake all”, why would he warn people who had households and goods?

 

 

Approved Examples or Illustrations:

Matt. 7:24-27, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

Q: If Joshua says we must never live in a house, why would he use a teaching that says a man is wise for building his house a certain way?

 

Matt. 13:24-27, “Joshua presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 27 The servants of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’”

Q: Why would Joshua give a parable about his kingdom of heaven that included in an approving way – a “landowner” –a man who owned a field and controlled servants/employees?

 

Matt. 13:51-52, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” 52 And Joshua said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Q: If Joshua tells people to give away all their material possessions to follow him, why would he use an example that includes the approving of a man who is the “head of a household”?  A household includes an owned house and property.

 

Matt. 20:1ff, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.”

The parable goes on to say how the landowner (like God) has the right to choose what wage he will pay people, and that people should be content with their wages.

Q: Why would Joshua use an approved illustration that includes a landowner paying men, and men accepting wages for work, if he forbids owning any material things or forbids working and receiving a wage/money for the work?

 

Matt. 24:45-46, “Who then is the faithful and sensible servant whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant/employee whom his master finds so doing when he comes.  Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.”

Q: Why would Joshua use an approved example that includes servants/employees, bosses, household properties; and the “blessed” reward is to put the servant/employee in charge of “all his possessions”?  If Joshua expects people to forsake all their possessions, then why is he using examples that approve of people owning possessions and getting possessions as rewards?

 

Matt. 25:26-28, “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the money from him, and give it to the one who has the ten dollars.’”

Q: More illustration teachings where Joshua uses subjects in his story/parable/teaching in an approved manner, which subjects are expected to use the money they are given wisely…use banks to get interest…and reward the hard workers with more money!

 

Luke 19:12-24, ““A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. 13 And he called ten of his servants, and gave them ten dollars and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these servants, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. 16 The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your money has made ten dollars more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ 18 The second came, saying, ‘Your money, master, has made five dollars.’ 19 And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your money, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless servant. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ 24 Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the money away from him and give it to the one who has the ten dollars.’”

Luke’s fuller account of the parable.  Again, it is a parable which teaches a lesson to its listeners.  Joshua would not use examples in his parables that contradict his teaches for this would confuse people.  This parable includes the usage, in an approved manner by Joshua, of “Doing business to earn money”…if Joshua was against that, why would he use it as an approved example in his teachings?

Luke 6:47-48, “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock…”

Q:  Why would Joshua use a man “building a house” in an approved context if he does not want people living in owned houses?

 

Luke 10:33-35, “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out some money and gave it to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’”

Q:  Again, the good guy in the story has money enough to pay for this man’s needs.  Why would Joshua use that type of example in his teaching if he disapproves of people having money?

 

Luke 11:5-8, “Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”

Q: Why would Joshua provide learning teachings that involve characters who live in houses and own stuff?

 

Luke 12:16-21, ““The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21 So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Q:  Perhaps the answer to how much money or how many material things a man possesses or controls is found in this simple phrase, “for himself”?  Perhaps if he SHARED his material things to help others and to preach Joshua, he would be rich toward God?”

 

Luke 15:8-10, ““Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Q: If Joshua does not want people to have, possess or control money, why would he use such an example to teach a principle?

 

Noted Relevant Facts:

John 12:4-6, “4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred dollars and given to poor people?” 6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.”

John 13:28-30, “Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Joshua was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.”

Q:  The twelve apostles had a “money box” that they used to pay for their expenses.  How could this be if Joshua teaches to “forsake all” and to never possess or control money?

 

Matt. 8:14, “When Joshua came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.”

Mark 1:29-31, “And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Joshua about her. 31 And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.”

Q:  Joshua had already called Peter to follow him as recorded in Matt. 4, yet Peter still had his house.  How could that be if Peter forsook all to follow Joshua?

 

Matt. 9:9-10, “As Joshua went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.  Then it happened that as Joshua was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Joshua and His disciples.”

Q: After Matthew committed to following Joshua, they had dinner in Matthew’s house.  Why did Joshua not tell Matthew to forsake his house?

 

Matt. 26:6-7, “Now when Joshua was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table.”

Mark 14:3, “While He (Joshua) was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head.”

Q: Why didn’t Joshua rebuke Mary (someone he knew and who was following him) for owning a very expensive possession?  (HINT: Maybe because she was willing to use it for Joshua?  Any lesson there?)

 

Matt. 27:57-60, “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Joshua. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Joshua. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.”

Mark 15:43, “Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Joshua.”

John 19:38-40, “After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Joshua, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Joshua; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40 So they took the body of Joshua and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.”

Q: Two of the three above accounts say Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Joshua, and his having the courage to go before Pilate to honor Joshua supports that claim.  Not every disciple has the faith of Joshua and we all should grow in faith and understanding.  Joseph used what he had to honor Joshua, and he obviously does not fit the mold of the ‘forsake all’ preachers.

 

Mark 8:3, “If I (Joshua) send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.”

Q:  Why would Joshua send people “to their homes” if he wants all people to “forsake all”?

 

Mark 16:1, “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him.”

Luke 23:55, “Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes.”

Q: Burial spices were quite expensive.  How could they have purchased them (“bought spices”) without money?

 

Luke 10:38, “Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.”

Q:  Marth and Mary were friends and followers of Joshua.  Why would they then have a home if they were following Joshua’s “forsake all” command?

 

Luke 19:8-10, “Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” 9 And Joshua said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Q: Zaccheus had entered into “salvation” upon hearing Joshua and choosing to make him his Master, and yet he did not “forsake all” or enough, according to the forsake all preachers.  He only gave away HALF his possessions and he said nothing about leaving his house!

 

John 11:1-2, “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

John 11:20, “Martha therefore, when she heard that Joshua was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house.”

John 11:30-31, “Now Joshua had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.”

John 12:1-6, “Joshua, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Joshua had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Joshua and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Q:  Mary and Martha and Lazareth their brother clearly owned a house after they have met Joshua and had made him their Master.  Throughout the gospels, it can be inferred he regularly stayed in Bethany with Mary, Martha and Lazareth.  Why?

 

John 16:29-33, “His disciples said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. 30 Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” 31 Joshua answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Q:  How could the apostles still have their homes to scatter to if they have “forsaken all” like Joshua says?

 

John 19:26-27, “When Joshua then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.”

Q:  The beloved apostle John still had a house after having been with Joshua for about three years???  How can that be if Joshua meant when he said, “you must forsake all”, that a person cannot possess or control any material possessions?

 

John 21:3, “Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.”

John 21:6, “And He (Joshua) said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.”

Q:  Peter still had his fishing business???  How could that be?  Didn’t Joshua mean when he said, “you must forsake all” that a person must not possess nor control ANY material things like houses or business assets like fishing boats and equipment?  And instead of Joshua being mad that his apostles were fishing instead of preaching the gospel and properly forsaking all, he provided an instruction for how to fish?

 

SOMETHING IS JUST NOT ADDING UP TO WHAT I HEAR FROM THE ‘FORSAKE ALL’ PREACHERS!

Indeed, because the ‘forsake all’ preachers are picking something Joshua said and twisting it to get people to do what THEY THINK instead of what Joshua wants.  We can know best what Joshua wants when we understand ALL of his teachings, saying, words and actions.

 

 

 

 

 

The four gospels record the visit of God’s Messenger to mankind.  At that time, the Son of Man was on the earth, so when he said, “follow me” it had direct and immediate physical implications, for you had to leave what you were doing to follow him:

Example, Matt. 4:18-22, “Now as Joshua was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.” 

 

Insight Sayings:

Luke 17:20-21, “Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Q:  Perhaps his saying about not looking for some physical sign about the kingdom of God, because the kingdom of God is FIRST inside a person, has some bearing on this issue of “forsaking all”?  Perhaps forsaking all is primarily an internal matter of the heart, which will or might have secondary manifestations?

 

Summary:

So, what is clear is that Joshua had disciples who owned houses and land, and it is also clear that Joshua and his first disciples possessed and used money to buy things.

So, what did he mean in Luke 14 when he said, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.”?  He meant two primary things.

First, that forsaking is first of the heart, and internal matter of our hearts/souls.  For example, a person can give up all his material things in an effort to be accepted by God, but do so begrudgingly and out of fear, not faith or love.  That ‘sacrifice’ will not amount to much in God’s eyes for the person since they are not willing to do the greatest command, which is to love God, not fear him.  Please listen to Joshua in this respect, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”.  Mercy means compassion towards others, NOT perceived sacrifices for God which He does not need nor want.

Second, it means that most people -  when given the information about what having one’s faith in Joshua means – will need to make significant change in their lives, typically including leaving one’s job and natural family.

Joshua’s teaching of, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple”, is really about bringing significant and needed changes to a person’s life.  When a person is in the world and hears Joshua’s call, they cannot stay in the world and follow Joshua.  Our hearts affections must change from whatever they were in before (self, money, glory, power, etc.) to our heavenly Father and Joshua.  We must come out of the world, and this means we will stop living for things other than for Joshua, the Father he reveals, and the work he calls us to perform.

So, to sum up, the forsaking is happening when a person first places their faith in Joshua and wants to follow him.  It is at that time there is a testing, and that context is clear in Luke chapter 14.  Joshua’s parables of the sowers describe the process.  The word of God - which is Joshua and his sayings – is heart by people with different states of heart.  There are those (three examples) who don’t respond with faith and love, or they don’t place all their faith in Joshua, so they end up NOT being disciples of Joshua.  Then there is the one person who placed all their faith in Joshua and produced fruit thereof.

As the quotes from Joshua and the four gospels in this article prove, forsaking all does NOT mean that as disciples…

  • We cannot own, possess, control or use money;
  • We cannot own, possess or control property like houses or farms;
  • We must minimize the material things that you own, possess or control;
  • We cannot do work and earn money or take money for that work.

Rather, it means we all needed to forsake whatever was preventing us from following Joshua when we were first born from above.  Those things could have been people, money, our dreams in this world, etc.  Or, a person could have been in a place in their life where they did not have much to forsake to start following Joshua (typically younger single people).

Once we are disciples, we need to concentrate on doing his work, NOT how much money or material things we own, possess or control, because whatever we own, possess or control will be used in the service of Joshua, just like Mary and Martha and Lazarus did, for example.

Sharing is the key to understanding what it looks like to have “forsaken all” for Joshua subsequent to our first deciding to follow him.  The major change in our approach to money and material things is that we no longer selfishly protect our material things, but rather share what we have to help other disciples.

Please come into Life and join the Peaceful Revolution!

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