Do You Want Half The Kingdom?

This offer was made to two persons in the Bible. Both spurned the offer for different reasons: one for a noble purpose and the other for a wicked purpose.  Herodia’s daughter, Salome, was offered half the Kingdom by Herod when she danced on his birthday.  She refused it and wanted something else.  She might have thought, “Why ask for half the Kingdom?   The whole Kingdom belongs to my father. Any day it is mine.  Right now my need is the head of John the Baptist.”  So with a murderous attitude she asked for the head of John.  This is what many people do.  They enjoy the devil’s kingdom and send millions of people to hell every day. Jesus said, He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me  scatters (Mt 12:30).  If you are not ushering in souls into the kingdom of God you are against Christ.  Are you with Jesus or against Him?  Are you gathering with Him or scattering away from Him?  Are you a soulwinner?   Today you also have this offer from the devil.  Many today have greedily grabbed  the offer of half the kingdom with both hands and are so busy with their own affairs that they send souls rolling down to hell every minute.  Do you realize that by sheer neglect you are packing hundreds and hundreds of souls everyday to hell?

The other person is Esther. She refused half the kingdom and asked for her life and the life of her people.  She knew even if she accepted half the kingdom, she would be slaughtered and would not be there to enjoy it.  For her, half the kingdom was not worth it.  She would rather sacrifice it for the life of people.

How many of us will say “No” to half the kingdom, resign our jobs and come to serve the Lord?  How many of us would give away our jewels for the Kingdom cause?  Recently I had a shameful experience.  I thought during the Corona crisis if I asked for a jewel from each of my friends, I could collect a good sum to help Corona victims. Even in the beginning I suffered nose-cuts.  I realized how tightly people were clutching on to their possessions. If you want souls, you must say “No” to half the kingdom.

Jesus was offered kingdoms by the devil.  He did not shoo him away in the first instant.  He struggled for forty days before He could say “No” to the offer.  The devil tempted Him for forty days.  As a human, He would have considered the pros and cons.  Why not accept the offer and rule the world in peace?  Why go through so much of suffering, pain and humiliation?  As a carpenter He might have sold many nails and crosses for crucifixion to the Roman Government.  He would have seen crucifixion because it was  common for the Roman Government to punish criminals this way. After forty days He took victory over the temptation to accept the kingdoms the devil offered.

In Matthew 19, we meet a rich young ruler.  He came to Jesus asking what good thing he needed to do to get eternal life. Jesus looked at him and loved him because he was so keen on inheriting eternal life (Mk 10:21).  Jesus asked him to obey the commandments.  His answer would thrill anyone.  He had obeyed all the commandments since he was a boy!  He was so careful about getting into heaven.  Then he put forth another question:  What do I still lack?  Jesus rightly diagnosed his problem.  His mind and heart were on his wealth!  Then Jesus dropped a bomb:  If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow Me (Mt 19:21).  He needed to go away first.  With his heart unconverted,  he was not fit for the Kingdom of heaven.  Then he needed to sell so that all his wealth will belong to him no more.  He could not put it in his bank. The next step was to distribute the money he got from selling his property to the poor.  Jesus was very careful in His wordings.  He was not allowed to give it to his friends, because then in his time of need they would pitch in.  Then he was fit to come back and follow Jesus.  The Bible says that he came running.  Now we see him trudging away sadly.  He would have been sad all his life.  He would be sad on the judgement day.

Many of us are like that.  We desire eternal life and examine our hearts every day to weed away all hindrances.  We ask God if there is anything that we still lack.  But when God shows us, we are reluctant.  On the one side, half the kingdom is very attractive.  On the other side, following Jesus looks most unattractive and appears to offer little.  

Jesus dropped another bomb - this man was not inheriting eternal life!  The disciples were shocked. “If a man who had obeyed all the commandments from boyhood could not enter eternal life, who else could?” was their question.

The word “everything” hits hard.  Mark says that Jesus wanted him to sell “everything” he had.  Jesus said he lacked “one” thing.  He was 99% committed.  But Jesus demanded the 1% too.  He wanted 100%, everything! Let’s see a few things about total commitment.  In Matthew 13:44 we read about a treasure hidden in a field.  The man went and sold “all” he had and bought the land.  Then we read about a costly pearl.  The pearl merchant sold “everything” he had and bought it.  They all became paupers to get something of great value.  David Livingstone, Mother Teresa, C.T.Studd and countless number of others sacrificed their all to become a disciple of Jesus.  You may think I am exaggerating.   Let’s settle the matter by another reference.

Come with me to Luke 14:25-35.  The title NIV Bible gives to this portion is, “The Cost Of Being A Disciple.”  Here Jesus spoke about a king who was getting ready to go for war.  He was admonished to first sit and count the cost.  Usually we use this passage for proper planning.  But that was not the reason Jesus told this parable.  Come to verse 33: In the same way, any of you who does not give up ‘everything’ he has cannot be My disciple.  Is it clear to you now?  The cost of discipleship is giving up everything.  First you must go, settle the matter and only then you can become a disciple of Jesus.  Everything means everything, 100%. This “one” thing is keeping many away from the Kingdom of God.  What is this one thing you are clutching to? There are quarter Christians, half Christians, three fourth Christians.  God wants total Christians.

When Jesus told the young man to give up everything, Peter asked Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!  What then will there be for us?” Jesus assured him of many blessings.  What did Peter get?  Beatings, prison, and finally crucifixion.   But along with that the blessing of 3000 souls and 5000 souls and miracles - the joy of ministry and eternal life.  Jesus told the rich man that he would have treasure in heaven.   Peter had it but the rich man lost it.

I want to share a personal testimony with you.  When I got married I did not get much from my family.  So when we stepped into full-time ministry we suffered a lot.   We cut down on everything.  From buying clothes, going out and even food.  We travelled by ordinary class for ministry.  We hadn’t even peeped into the A/C class.  We used to take old newspapers which we would spread on the platforms and sleep alternately.  We stayed where we were accommodated and ate what they gave. People were blessed. Then things began to change. Two years ago (2019) when we were in UAE for ministry, we were put in Sheraton Hotel.  I was praising God.  My father died at the age of 91 and left me a property.   We sold it and my husband put it in Fixed Deposit in my name.  I was excited.  At last I could spend as I pleased,  give to Missions, help the  poor, buy what I wanted without calculating...  A few years floated by happily.  Then one day when I was meditating upon this rich young man God asked me, “Can you give up this amount and follow me?”  I was confused.  “How Lord?”  I asked.  “I cannot sell this inherited amount.  I cannot give it up and lose my independence looking to someone for my medicines and other personal expenses.”  “If you can trust Me give it up,” God said.  I tossed and turned in bed.  Then I said, “Yes, Lord.

God wanted Abraham to sacrifice his one and only beloved son. Abraham might have spent a sleepless night. Isaac was his “everything.”  He decided to give up Isaac as per God’s wish.  He did not think,  “In case God changes His mind in the last minute, let me take a lamb also with me.”  No, he was determined.   But just before the sword struck Isaac,  God stopped Abraham.  Abraham got back his son.  But something happened to Abraham’s relationship with Isaac.  Isaac was no more his.  He was already given to God.  His mind was taken off Isaac.  That’s what happened to me.  The money came back to me.  But my attitude towards the money changed 100%.  It was no more mine.  I continued to use it, but my mind was off it.  Before that I used to be thinking about it, planning, expecting and calculating the interest.  All that died off.  Rather, I died to that money. Everybody may not get back what they sacrifice but God sees your heart.  It may not be money or possessions, it can be anything or any person you are unable to release into God’s hand.

The disciples were shocked when Jesus said that the young man was not going into heaven.  If a man who had obeyed all the commandments from boyhood could not inherit eternal life who else could?  Jesus said, With man this is impossible,  but with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26).  We claim this promise for anything other than what it was intended for.  But Jesus said it for someone who has struggle to give up his hold on anything that God wants him to give up.  This young man had his fingers tightly clutching his riches.  If he had just asked Jesus, “Lord, please help me,” Jesus would have helped him.  But he was afraid to pray that prayer lest Jesus answer it.   Just like us!  How many of us dare pray that prayer? Jesus repeated it saying, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Mt 19:24). Repetition is emphasis. I tell you the “truth” said Jesus (v 23).  Let us believe the truth and act.

In Luke chapter 12:13-21, Jesus spoke about a rich fool. He wanted to store up all his harvest and enjoy life. He died the same night.  This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God said Jesus (v 21).  I can think of two people who talked to their souls.  One was David who commanded his soul to bless the Lord (Psalm 103).  He would tell his soul, Why are you downcast,  O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?   Put your hope in God (Psa 42:5).  He taught good things to his soul and flourished.  But the rich man taught his soul wrong things saying, You have plenty of good things laid up for many years.  Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry (Lk 12:19).  He died a sudden death.  What we teach our soul, that we will be.  So read the Bible and teach your soul.  When your soul says,  “I can never give up this one thing,”  tell your soul, “No, the Bible teaches total commitment, you have to give up.”  That’s how you grow spiritually.

Following the parable of the rich fool, Jesus taught us not to worry.  He spoke about how God feeds the ravens which have no storehouses and the wild flowers which do not spin or stitch.  God cares for them all. He tells us that we are more valuable to Him than these creatures.  But the message that we convey to Him everyday is, “Lord, You will take care of ravens. You will care for the flowers.  But whether You will take care of me or not, I am not sure.  I cannot trust You Lord, I need barns, in case....  That’s why Jesus said,O you of little faith!  (v28).  Then He said, Seek first God’s kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well (v31).

Then He said something terrific which shook me up.  He said,  Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom (v32).  Our Father is waiting to give us a kingdom, a wonderful kingdom and here we are holding on to half the kingdom the  devil is offering us!  What a shame!  When I ask people what are we not to be afraid of, they give so many unrelated answers.  Come to the next verse to see what we are not to be afraid of.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Jesus is asking us not to be afraid to give generously to the poor.  Don’t be afraid, don’t be calculative.   The more you give, the more treasure you are hoarding in heaven.

I want to tell you two things about fear.  One is Predictability.   We want to be sure of tomorrow.  The poor widow dropped the two coins which she had for her livelihood.  Then what would she do for dinner?  She wouldn’t know!  She had to trust God.  That’s what Jesus appreciated about her.  The second thing is Security.  We are afraid to take risks.  When I trembled to go to Odisha, God showed me a guardian angel spreading his wings over two little children catching butterflies in a precarious broken wooden bridge.  That strengthened me.  He is there for everyone of us.  This is where we need faith.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Samuel’s sons were corrupt and people wanted a king in their place.  I used to wonder why God was hurt.  What could the people have done?  But there is something deeper than what meets the eye.  God said, It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King (1 Sam 8:7). They did not want Theocracy but they chose Democracy.  They did not want God to rule them.  They wanted to rule themselves.  Is God ruling us or are we ruling ourselves?  I was talking to a brother saying, he should not be so immersed in money matters.  He said, “You are not a practical Christian.”  Yes, Christianity is not a practical religion. We think we are intelligent, well educated and sensible enough to decide for ourselves.  What God suggests sounds impractical to us.  But His ways are higher.

Ask God, “What do I still lack, Lord?”  He will show where from you need to take your fingers, your mind off.  He will put His finger on the spot.  You will know it.  The Kingdom of God is within you.  You can hear God from within you.  In Hebrews 11:33 we read, ...through faith they conquered kingdoms...”  Yes, through faith you can do it.

We have some interesting stuff in the book of Revelation: You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth(5:10).  When we say, “No,” to half the kingdom,  we get to rule all the kingdoms of the  earth!  Come to 11:15 - The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah!   Half the kingdom that we threw away in the devil’s face is now our Father’s.  Abraham willingly lost half the kingdom to Lot.  Once Lot went away, God told Abraham that He would give all the land,  even what Lot chose, to Abraham!  What we refuse to accept from satan’s hand will become ours one day.

I want to conclude with Acts 1:6.  The disciples wanted to know if Jesus would restore the kingdom to Israel at that time.  Jesus must have got fed up with His disciples.  After all the teaching He gave to His disciples about God’s Kingdom,  they were still talking about the kingdom to Israel.  So He said, “ Forget it.  Now go and get busy.”  I too want to conclude with the same.  There is so much going on around you, meetings and meetings, this and that.  But you go and preach the Good News to everyone and win souls. Go and work.

 “Lord, give us the strength to say NO to half the kingdom and spend all our time and energy and wealth to gather souls for your kingdom. Amen.

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee my blessed Saviour
I surrender all.

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  •   051. Blessed Accident
      Feb 21, 2018
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 Little Stories for Little Hearts Vol 3

  •   094 Ant and Worm
      Jun 01, 2016
    An ant was majestically walking along a forest. She saw a worm crawling. The ant told the worm: ?Look at me. I am so brisk and smart. You should be faster and dress up beautifully. You look ugly.? Despising the worm the ant moved along. more...
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 Little Stories for Little Hearts Vol 2

  •   001 The Modern Prodigal
      Jul 11, 2013
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  •   002 Lower One Foot, Lord!
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  •   003 Beautiful Cheques
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  •   Introduction
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    There were two scientists. One was a believer in the true God and another was an aetheist more...
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  •   019 - Mala the Great!
      Jun 25, 2015
    7 Dec 1988 Dear Aunty, It?s been 2 months since we were in touch. I?m saturated with ?news? to give you and nearly bursting with curiosity to hear what?s been happening at your end. The last letter you wrote to me was an eye-opener. To more...
  •   020 - The Rainbow
      Jun 25, 2015
    On the day she arrived, she was at my doorstep! ?Hi aunty? ?Oh Mala, how are you?? She shook my hand so long and hard that it ached, and planted a kiss on my cheek - so unusual of her. ?Why didn?t you write aunty?? ?Oh, I knew you?d be coming soon. So more...
  •   021 - What to Do?
      Jun 25, 2015
    7 Jan 1989 Dear Aunty, Christmas holidays were great fun. It was lovely getting in touch with friends and relatives. On New Year?s Day I gleaned thro? my diary- There was so much to thank God for! My friend Esther is in Rajasthan. She wrote asking for g more...
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 General
   Updated

  •   Do You Want Half The Kingdom?
      Apr 15, 2022
    Many today have greedily grabbed the offer of half the kingdom with both hands and are so busy with their own affairs that they send souls rolling down to hell every minute... more...
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 Little Stories for Little Hearts Vol 5
   Updated

 Dr Lilian Stanley Blog
   Updated

  •   Day Break Events (Tamil)
      Jun 16, 2022
    Day Break Events more...
  •   Day Break Events
      Jun 16, 2022
    Day Break Events more...
  •   Jesus, the Lamb of God! (Tamil)
      Jun 06, 2022
    Jesus, the Lamb of God! more...
  • Click here for more 

 Daily Devotional for Women (English)
   Updated

  •   274. Oct 01 Feed My lambs!
      Mar 07, 2023
    Have faith and you will witness miracles more...
  •   273. September 30 Miracles in my life
      Mar 06, 2023
    Why don't you write down the miracles in your life? more...
  •   272. September 29 Worthy Woman
      Mar 05, 2023
    Are you a worthy woman? more...
  • Click here for more 

 Daily Devotional for Women (Tamil)
   Updated

  •   October 1 Feed My lambs!
      Oct 01, 2022
    Feed My lambs! more...
  •   September 30 Miracles in my life
      Sep 30, 2022
    Miracles in my life more...
  •   September 29 Worthy Woman
      Sep 29, 2022
    Worthy Woman more...
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 Little Stories for Little Hearts Vol 4

  •   051. Blessed Accident
      Feb 21, 2018
    A sailor wanted to go round the world in a boat and set up a record. Sadly, a storm lashed his boat and it broke to pieces. The sailor swam and reached a small uninhabited island. He ate wild fruits and roots and survived. He made a more...
  •   052. Offense
      Feb 21, 2018
    An elaborate feast was arranged for all the palace staff on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth?s birthday. It was a grand affair. The table was loaded with a variety of dishes. Everybody enjoyed the feast and sat down for dessert. In the meanwhile the table more...
  •   053. Great and Small
      Feb 21, 2018
    A small zero collided with a big zero. ?Don?t you have any sense? Don?t you know I am much bigger than you?? asked the big zero; ?You must be ashamed of yourself.? more...
  • Click here for more 

 Little Stories for Little Hearts Vol 3

  •   094 Ant and Worm
      Jun 01, 2016
    An ant was majestically walking along a forest. She saw a worm crawling. The ant told the worm: ?Look at me. I am so brisk and smart. You should be faster and dress up beautifully. You look ugly.? Despising the worm the ant moved along. more...
  •   095 Diligence Pays
      Jun 01, 2016
    Ragu was very jealous of the humble minister, Ra more...
  •   096 Poor Minister
      Jun 01, 2016
    A poor minister of God used to go to a rich businessman asking for contribution for the work he was doing in villages. The rich man would give excuses and ask hi more...
  • Click here for more 

 Little Stories for Little Hearts Vol 2

  •   001 The Modern Prodigal
      Jul 11, 2013
    The Modern Prodigal more...
  •   002 Lower One Foot, Lord!
      Jul 11, 2013
    Lower One Foot, Lord! more...
  •   003 Beautiful Cheques
      Jul 11, 2013
    Beautiful Cheques more...
  • Click here for more 

 Little Stories For Little Hearts

  •   Introduction
      Jun 06, 2013
    Story Behind The Stories more...
  •   001. Is GOD For Real
      Jun 05, 2013
    There were two scientists. One was a believer in the true God and another was an aetheist more...
  •   002.The Language of Love!
      Jun 05, 2013
    A circus was running in town, and crowds elbowed each other to buy tickets. One day an unusual incident happened more...
  • Click here for more 

 Sweet Sixteen

  •   019 - Mala the Great!
      Jun 25, 2015
    7 Dec 1988 Dear Aunty, It?s been 2 months since we were in touch. I?m saturated with ?news? to give you and nearly bursting with curiosity to hear what?s been happening at your end. The last letter you wrote to me was an eye-opener. To more...
  •   020 - The Rainbow
      Jun 25, 2015
    On the day she arrived, she was at my doorstep! ?Hi aunty? ?Oh Mala, how are you?? She shook my hand so long and hard that it ached, and planted a kiss on my cheek - so unusual of her. ?Why didn?t you write aunty?? ?Oh, I knew you?d be coming soon. So more...
  •   021 - What to Do?
      Jun 25, 2015
    7 Jan 1989 Dear Aunty, Christmas holidays were great fun. It was lovely getting in touch with friends and relatives. On New Year?s Day I gleaned thro? my diary- There was so much to thank God for! My friend Esther is in Rajasthan. She wrote asking for g more...
  • Click here for more 

 Ministry

  •   Youth Prophet
      Jul 24, 2022
    I am Jeremiah the prophet. Read my book, having in mind a budding youth who matured into a grand old man more...
  •   Starting Trouble?
      Apr 30, 2022
    Many want to serve God but they do not know how... more...
  •   I am a Missionary!
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 Women

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 Youth

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 General
   Updated

  •   Do You Want Half The Kingdom?
      Apr 15, 2022
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 Family
   Updated

  •   Child Abuse
      Feb 03, 2022
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  •   Wife Beating
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      Sep 30, 2016
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Do You Want Half The Kingdom?

This offer was made to two persons in the Bible. Both spurned the offer for different reasons: one for a noble purpose and the other for a wicked purpose.  Herodia’s daughter, Salome, was offered half the Kingdom by Herod when she danced on his birthday.  She refused it and wanted something else.  She might have thought, “Why ask for half the Kingdom?   The whole Kingdom belongs to my father. Any day it is mine.  Right now my need is the head of John the Baptist.”  So with a murderous attitude she asked for the head of John.  This is what many people do.  They enjoy the devil’s kingdom and send millions of people to hell every day. Jesus said, He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me  scatters (Mt 12:30).  If you are not ushering in souls into the kingdom of God you are against Christ.  Are you with Jesus or against Him?  Are you gathering with Him or scattering away from Him?  Are you a soulwinner?   Today you also have this offer from the devil.  Many today have greedily grabbed  the offer of half the kingdom with both hands and are so busy with their own affairs that they send souls rolling down to hell every minute.  Do you realize that by sheer neglect you are packing hundreds and hundreds of souls everyday to hell?

The other person is Esther. She refused half the kingdom and asked for her life and the life of her people.  She knew even if she accepted half the kingdom, she would be slaughtered and would not be there to enjoy it.  For her, half the kingdom was not worth it.  She would rather sacrifice it for the life of people.

How many of us will say “No” to half the kingdom, resign our jobs and come to serve the Lord?  How many of us would give away our jewels for the Kingdom cause?  Recently I had a shameful experience.  I thought during the Corona crisis if I asked for a jewel from each of my friends, I could collect a good sum to help Corona victims. Even in the beginning I suffered nose-cuts.  I realized how tightly people were clutching on to their possessions. If you want souls, you must say “No” to half the kingdom.

Jesus was offered kingdoms by the devil.  He did not shoo him away in the first instant.  He struggled for forty days before He could say “No” to the offer.  The devil tempted Him for forty days.  As a human, He would have considered the pros and cons.  Why not accept the offer and rule the world in peace?  Why go through so much of suffering, pain and humiliation?  As a carpenter He might have sold many nails and crosses for crucifixion to the Roman Government.  He would have seen crucifixion because it was  common for the Roman Government to punish criminals this way. After forty days He took victory over the temptation to accept the kingdoms the devil offered.

In Matthew 19, we meet a rich young ruler.  He came to Jesus asking what good thing he needed to do to get eternal life. Jesus looked at him and loved him because he was so keen on inheriting eternal life (Mk 10:21).  Jesus asked him to obey the commandments.  His answer would thrill anyone.  He had obeyed all the commandments since he was a boy!  He was so careful about getting into heaven.  Then he put forth another question:  What do I still lack?  Jesus rightly diagnosed his problem.  His mind and heart were on his wealth!  Then Jesus dropped a bomb:  If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow Me (Mt 19:21).  He needed to go away first.  With his heart unconverted,  he was not fit for the Kingdom of heaven.  Then he needed to sell so that all his wealth will belong to him no more.  He could not put it in his bank. The next step was to distribute the money he got from selling his property to the poor.  Jesus was very careful in His wordings.  He was not allowed to give it to his friends, because then in his time of need they would pitch in.  Then he was fit to come back and follow Jesus.  The Bible says that he came running.  Now we see him trudging away sadly.  He would have been sad all his life.  He would be sad on the judgement day.

Many of us are like that.  We desire eternal life and examine our hearts every day to weed away all hindrances.  We ask God if there is anything that we still lack.  But when God shows us, we are reluctant.  On the one side, half the kingdom is very attractive.  On the other side, following Jesus looks most unattractive and appears to offer little.  

Jesus dropped another bomb - this man was not inheriting eternal life!  The disciples were shocked. “If a man who had obeyed all the commandments from boyhood could not enter eternal life, who else could?” was their question.

The word “everything” hits hard.  Mark says that Jesus wanted him to sell “everything” he had.  Jesus said he lacked “one” thing.  He was 99% committed.  But Jesus demanded the 1% too.  He wanted 100%, everything! Let’s see a few things about total commitment.  In Matthew 13:44 we read about a treasure hidden in a field.  The man went and sold “all” he had and bought the land.  Then we read about a costly pearl.  The pearl merchant sold “everything” he had and bought it.  They all became paupers to get something of great value.  David Livingstone, Mother Teresa, C.T.Studd and countless number of others sacrificed their all to become a disciple of Jesus.  You may think I am exaggerating.   Let’s settle the matter by another reference.

Come with me to Luke 14:25-35.  The title NIV Bible gives to this portion is, “The Cost Of Being A Disciple.”  Here Jesus spoke about a king who was getting ready to go for war.  He was admonished to first sit and count the cost.  Usually we use this passage for proper planning.  But that was not the reason Jesus told this parable.  Come to verse 33: In the same way, any of you who does not give up ‘everything’ he has cannot be My disciple.  Is it clear to you now?  The cost of discipleship is giving up everything.  First you must go, settle the matter and only then you can become a disciple of Jesus.  Everything means everything, 100%. This “one” thing is keeping many away from the Kingdom of God.  What is this one thing you are clutching to? There are quarter Christians, half Christians, three fourth Christians.  God wants total Christians.

When Jesus told the young man to give up everything, Peter asked Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!  What then will there be for us?” Jesus assured him of many blessings.  What did Peter get?  Beatings, prison, and finally crucifixion.   But along with that the blessing of 3000 souls and 5000 souls and miracles - the joy of ministry and eternal life.  Jesus told the rich man that he would have treasure in heaven.   Peter had it but the rich man lost it.

I want to share a personal testimony with you.  When I got married I did not get much from my family.  So when we stepped into full-time ministry we suffered a lot.   We cut down on everything.  From buying clothes, going out and even food.  We travelled by ordinary class for ministry.  We hadn’t even peeped into the A/C class.  We used to take old newspapers which we would spread on the platforms and sleep alternately.  We stayed where we were accommodated and ate what they gave. People were blessed. Then things began to change. Two years ago (2019) when we were in UAE for ministry, we were put in Sheraton Hotel.  I was praising God.  My father died at the age of 91 and left me a property.   We sold it and my husband put it in Fixed Deposit in my name.  I was excited.  At last I could spend as I pleased,  give to Missions, help the  poor, buy what I wanted without calculating...  A few years floated by happily.  Then one day when I was meditating upon this rich young man God asked me, “Can you give up this amount and follow me?”  I was confused.  “How Lord?”  I asked.  “I cannot sell this inherited amount.  I cannot give it up and lose my independence looking to someone for my medicines and other personal expenses.”  “If you can trust Me give it up,” God said.  I tossed and turned in bed.  Then I said, “Yes, Lord.

God wanted Abraham to sacrifice his one and only beloved son. Abraham might have spent a sleepless night. Isaac was his “everything.”  He decided to give up Isaac as per God’s wish.  He did not think,  “In case God changes His mind in the last minute, let me take a lamb also with me.”  No, he was determined.   But just before the sword struck Isaac,  God stopped Abraham.  Abraham got back his son.  But something happened to Abraham’s relationship with Isaac.  Isaac was no more his.  He was already given to God.  His mind was taken off Isaac.  That’s what happened to me.  The money came back to me.  But my attitude towards the money changed 100%.  It was no more mine.  I continued to use it, but my mind was off it.  Before that I used to be thinking about it, planning, expecting and calculating the interest.  All that died off.  Rather, I died to that money. Everybody may not get back what they sacrifice but God sees your heart.  It may not be money or possessions, it can be anything or any person you are unable to release into God’s hand.

The disciples were shocked when Jesus said that the young man was not going into heaven.  If a man who had obeyed all the commandments from boyhood could not inherit eternal life who else could?  Jesus said, With man this is impossible,  but with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26).  We claim this promise for anything other than what it was intended for.  But Jesus said it for someone who has struggle to give up his hold on anything that God wants him to give up.  This young man had his fingers tightly clutching his riches.  If he had just asked Jesus, “Lord, please help me,” Jesus would have helped him.  But he was afraid to pray that prayer lest Jesus answer it.   Just like us!  How many of us dare pray that prayer? Jesus repeated it saying, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Mt 19:24). Repetition is emphasis. I tell you the “truth” said Jesus (v 23).  Let us believe the truth and act.

In Luke chapter 12:13-21, Jesus spoke about a rich fool. He wanted to store up all his harvest and enjoy life. He died the same night.  This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God said Jesus (v 21).  I can think of two people who talked to their souls.  One was David who commanded his soul to bless the Lord (Psalm 103).  He would tell his soul, Why are you downcast,  O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?   Put your hope in God (Psa 42:5).  He taught good things to his soul and flourished.  But the rich man taught his soul wrong things saying, You have plenty of good things laid up for many years.  Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry (Lk 12:19).  He died a sudden death.  What we teach our soul, that we will be.  So read the Bible and teach your soul.  When your soul says,  “I can never give up this one thing,”  tell your soul, “No, the Bible teaches total commitment, you have to give up.”  That’s how you grow spiritually.

Following the parable of the rich fool, Jesus taught us not to worry.  He spoke about how God feeds the ravens which have no storehouses and the wild flowers which do not spin or stitch.  God cares for them all. He tells us that we are more valuable to Him than these creatures.  But the message that we convey to Him everyday is, “Lord, You will take care of ravens. You will care for the flowers.  But whether You will take care of me or not, I am not sure.  I cannot trust You Lord, I need barns, in case....  That’s why Jesus said,O you of little faith!  (v28).  Then He said, Seek first God’s kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well (v31).

Then He said something terrific which shook me up.  He said,  Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom (v32).  Our Father is waiting to give us a kingdom, a wonderful kingdom and here we are holding on to half the kingdom the  devil is offering us!  What a shame!  When I ask people what are we not to be afraid of, they give so many unrelated answers.  Come to the next verse to see what we are not to be afraid of.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Jesus is asking us not to be afraid to give generously to the poor.  Don’t be afraid, don’t be calculative.   The more you give, the more treasure you are hoarding in heaven.

I want to tell you two things about fear.  One is Predictability.   We want to be sure of tomorrow.  The poor widow dropped the two coins which she had for her livelihood.  Then what would she do for dinner?  She wouldn’t know!  She had to trust God.  That’s what Jesus appreciated about her.  The second thing is Security.  We are afraid to take risks.  When I trembled to go to Odisha, God showed me a guardian angel spreading his wings over two little children catching butterflies in a precarious broken wooden bridge.  That strengthened me.  He is there for everyone of us.  This is where we need faith.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Samuel’s sons were corrupt and people wanted a king in their place.  I used to wonder why God was hurt.  What could the people have done?  But there is something deeper than what meets the eye.  God said, It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King (1 Sam 8:7). They did not want Theocracy but they chose Democracy.  They did not want God to rule them.  They wanted to rule themselves.  Is God ruling us or are we ruling ourselves?  I was talking to a brother saying, he should not be so immersed in money matters.  He said, “You are not a practical Christian.”  Yes, Christianity is not a practical religion. We think we are intelligent, well educated and sensible enough to decide for ourselves.  What God suggests sounds impractical to us.  But His ways are higher.

Ask God, “What do I still lack, Lord?”  He will show where from you need to take your fingers, your mind off.  He will put His finger on the spot.  You will know it.  The Kingdom of God is within you.  You can hear God from within you.  In Hebrews 11:33 we read, ...through faith they conquered kingdoms...”  Yes, through faith you can do it.

We have some interesting stuff in the book of Revelation: You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth(5:10).  When we say, “No,” to half the kingdom,  we get to rule all the kingdoms of the  earth!  Come to 11:15 - The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah!   Half the kingdom that we threw away in the devil’s face is now our Father’s.  Abraham willingly lost half the kingdom to Lot.  Once Lot went away, God told Abraham that He would give all the land,  even what Lot chose, to Abraham!  What we refuse to accept from satan’s hand will become ours one day.

I want to conclude with Acts 1:6.  The disciples wanted to know if Jesus would restore the kingdom to Israel at that time.  Jesus must have got fed up with His disciples.  After all the teaching He gave to His disciples about God’s Kingdom,  they were still talking about the kingdom to Israel.  So He said, “ Forget it.  Now go and get busy.”  I too want to conclude with the same.  There is so much going on around you, meetings and meetings, this and that.  But you go and preach the Good News to everyone and win souls. Go and work.

 “Lord, give us the strength to say NO to half the kingdom and spend all our time and energy and wealth to gather souls for your kingdom. Amen.

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee my blessed Saviour
I surrender all.

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