Do I have to give everything away to be a Christian? Here’s the answer.

“Sell everything you have, give it to the poor… then come, follow me.” – Luke 18:22, NIV

These words from Jesus are straightforward. Follow me after you’ve sold everything. But, they can also be troubling words, and it’s difficult to know what to do with them. Are we being disobedient if we refuse to sell or give away everything?

Jesus says these words to the rich young ruler, and this speaks volumes. Possessing wealth isn’t the deal-breaker when it comes to Kingdom service. Rather, it’s when wealth possesses us that following Jesus becomes impossible.

This begs the question, what’s our obligation as Christians?

Turning an “Either-Or” into a “Both-And”

Giving can often be framed as an “either-or” scenario that pits those in need around the globe against family. We want to share more generously with those in need—but what if there isn’t enough for our family? Understanding generosity this way naturally results in a tighter grip on our wealth.

But when we look at scripture, generous giving is not an “either-or” choice, but a “both-and” opportunity. Wealth is a tool to provide for both our families and Kingdom causes.


Followers of Jesus make decisions about their wealth based on the priority of their relationships and the means available to them. Family members are included on the list of Kingdom causes.

Recall this reminder from the Apostle Paul: “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8, NIV).

These are powerful words meant to emphasize that caring for our household is also part of our ministry.

Jesus’ plan for you includes your wealth. This is not to say that Jesus has gifted you with wealth because of any action on your part. It simply means that God’s plan for you involves your resources.

As with the rich young ruler, God’s plan for you may include parting with wealth in order to serve. For others, it means giving generously to provide for the needs of the family and neighbors they’ve been entrusted to love. Giving doesn’t have to be an “and-or” scenario. God calls us to care for both our loved ones and those in need we may never meet. “It’s a both-and” situation.

legacy society
Lifewater Legacy Society members make long-term impact possible.

Join the Lifewater Legacy Society

Giving is meant to be a joyful experience, one that shows you the impact you can make possible and one that brings the Kingdom closer to earth.

That’s why we’ve created the Lifewater Legacy Society, a special group of committed donors who have chosen to give generously to Lifewater while honoring and caring for their families. Legacy Society members have chosen to make a planned gift in their will (or other legacy gift), sending a powerful message about their legacy of generosity.

Legacy Society members Jeff and Sharon of California said, “We have found a real peace of mind and sense of satisfaction knowing the resources God has given us will continue to work for His Kingdom through the vital future ministry of Lifewater.”


When you join the Lifewater Legacy Society, you make change possible for generations to come. Lifewater’s has partnered with the Barnabas Foundation, a skilled group of Christian planners with years of experience helping others give to the ministries they care deeply about while providing for themselves and their families.

To learn more about the Lifewater Legacy Society, visit our webpage or fill out this form to be contacted personally by a representative.

Choose a Village. Change a Life.