"...for he had great possessions"

I came across this favorite passage in my reading yesterday morning:

One came up to Jesus, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." He said to him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." The young man said to him, "All these I have observed; what do I still lack?"

Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."

When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. (Mt 19.16-22)

It's been easier to heed the warning of this story (and follow its call to perfection) while I've been single, with few needs—and even fewer when I'm on the road. Now as I contemplate family life and see a real possibility for a ministry that requires land and house and transportation and food for many, I feel cautious. Jesus didn't just talk about putting aside possessions, joining the poor in their vulnerability, trusting God daily for bread. He actually lived this. And he called his followers to follow him also in this:
"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Lk 12.32-34)
I'm very eager to continue to follow Jesus in this way. But it becomes more difficult when the needs become more (and when the needs are not only mine).

I found some clues about the way forward when I came to Reba Place and began exploring the possibilities for a more stable life. One clue was the sharing possible in community. This is seen also in Jesus' life, in the way his (and the disciples') needs are met by those in their wider community. Another clue was how Jesus also drew outsiders into the sharing for certain bigger needs, such as the upper room for the passover celebration. With God-inspired sharing like this, I can envision how needs could be met for a ministry and a family, though we held few possessions of our own.

Also, focusing more intently this part of Jesus' life, I've noticed a couple important (and much-overlooked) aspects I'd like to emulate as we enter into life at Plow Creek. One, he did not enter into communal ownership. This has been the economic model for many Christian communities throughout history, but Jesus himself was different. He really was poor. (Not just "technically" poor because nothing was owned in his name.) He had no ownership or claim to the resources that he lived on; they were all free gifts from others, from those who loved him. Second, he didn't call some to follow him in his poverty and some to stay wealthy to support him. Jesus accepted gifts from all, and encouraged giving and sharing to whatever extent people were willing. But his call to all his followers was always the same invitation to join him, to become like him, to give all, to abandon the purses that grow old and fail.

To be perfect as he is perfect.