Quick answer: you don’t! When most people hear the phrase about renouncing their “possessions,” they usually picture their retirement savings, their new car, home and other kinds of property. Visions of living like a homeless street person or vagrant give them goose bumps. Well, relax; that is not the kind of life Jesus is calling you to live. Now, just suppose we do have some of these things – and you pick which one appeals to you: a Mercedes or a Lexus; a Rolex or a Timex; a mansion or a log cabin; pricey designer clothes, or a Target outfit on sale. Well, no matter what you pick, it still identifies your “status” in society. You are labelled Upper Class, Middle Class or Lower Class, because almost everyone in a consumer society is “class conscious” and keeps their eye on the next rung up on the ladder.
Jesus is calling us to make a radical change away from that kind of thinking. No longer is “social status” an important guideline and goal. Instead, an uncompromising loyalty to Jesus – demonstrated today by an unconditional acceptance of his teachings, those proclaimed to us by our Catholic bishops – is the sole criterion to true discipleship. In this kind of kingdom, foreseen by Jesus, we renounce the attitude that drives us to seek and cling to greater social status, and we refocus our attention on loving God and loving all his children. In this kind of kingdom, everyone has the same status – not the social kind, but the greatest status of all: the knowledge that I belong to God’s household, that I am one of His kingdom kids.
Our bond with Jesus takes absolute precedence over all other bonds, family or social. Love of riches, or their selfish use, is absolutely incompatible with love for the poor. Your attitude toward your possessions – all of which you hold in stewardship for God - shows where your heart is in relation to true discipleship. Take a journey through Romans 12:9-21 if you have any doubts about how kingdom kids need to live.