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Possessions and Sacrifice

Augustine | December 5

So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. —Luke 14:33

“Those who reject not only everything they have but everything they hoped to possess truly give up everything.”

The Calling of Peter and Andrew: Duccio di Buoninsegna

The fishermen of Galilee found pleasure not only in leaving their ships and nets at the Lord’s com­mand, but also in declaring that they had left every­thing and followed Him. Those who reject not only everything they have but everything they hoped to possess truly give up everything. What they may have desired is only seen by God. What they actu­ally possessed is seen by human eyes. In addition, when we love unimportant, earthly things, somehow we are more firmly married to what we have than to what we want to have. Why did the man who asked the Lord about eter­nal life go away sorrowful when he heard that he must sell everything and give it to the poor in order to be saved? For it is one thing to avoid gaining what we want, but it is another thing to give away that which has become a part of us. The former action is like declining food, the latter is like cutting off an arm. How great and wonderful is the joy of Christian generosity we obtain when, in obedience to the Gospel of Christ, we cheerfully sacrifice what that rich man grieved over and refused to give up.

All Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version. Excerpts from the early Church Fathers are in the public domain, but were organized and arranged for daily reading in Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers, © 1999 by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts. (No longer in print). Used by permission and in accordance with sections 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5 of Hendrickson’s “Rights and Permissions”. All rights reserved.

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