32 "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:32-34)Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Now, how do I avoid the plain meaning? Let's fire up a couple of tried-and-true escape mechanisms:
1) Is this in a parable? No.
2) Can this be cast as figurative? Does it really mean: "Do not hold on to your possessions. Be willing to give them up at a moment’s notice, should they be of use to God or the church. Do not make idols of your possessions. Do not value your self-made kingdom more then the kingdom of God." Can it be taken that way? No.
I would like it to mean that. I could convince myself that I was commendable in that regard. But does it actually say that? No it doesn’t. It states: Sell your possessions, and give to the needy.
I am so out of compliance. It is not because I am materialistic, because I’m not. Many sins I suffer from, but materialism is not among them, at least not in a big way. Your private gossip about brother Heddle when you know you shouldn’t be gossiping would not be: “Boy, is he is materialistic.” Or if it is, I'd honestly be surprised.
My discomfort is all about what I would call, in my spin room, responsibility while others might call it a lack of trust. I am building a bigger barn (which has gotten considerably smaller in recent days) called "retirement" and "trust fund" because I have responsibilities. I have to think about my autistic son. I have to provide for him for when I am room temperature. I am anxious for him. You can say: God will take care of him to which I say: And how do you know that what I am doing is not God’s way of taking care of him?
But I am not selling my possessions and giving to the needy. Nor am I likely to live up to that standard. Ever. And that’s a real downer.