Luke and The Lost
I love playing tug of war, coaching classrooms of kids to play or watching others hang on with all their might while pulling their opponents across the finish line. It feels good to win, doesn’t it? I am a bit ornery with this game, too. If I see we probably aren’t going to win, then on my signal, we all let go of the rope at the same time sending our surprised opponents to the ground, falling over each other. That’s just fun to watch, maybe even more fun than winning. Letting go can be exhilarating.
We are good at holding on tight to a lot of things in our lives. As our children grow, moms and dads want to hang on tight for fear of losing them. We hang on tight to past mistakes for fear we will make them again. We hang on tight to our stuff, not wanting to sell it or share it. We hang on tight to our self esteem, not wanting to let others see us as we really are. We hang on tight to our money for fear we might need all of it for emergencies that we create in our minds. We hang on tight to friends until they are suffocated with our neediness. We hang on tight to jobs for fear we cannot work anywhere else. Why?
We hang on tight to this tug of war with the evil one who wants us to stay confused, worried, fearful for the future, anemic in God’s love, stingy, selfish, arrogant, rebellious and stubborn.
Isn’t it time to just let it all go? A rich man came to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to deserve eternal life?” He wanted to add this to his list of things to acquire and hold tightly in his fist. First of all, the word “deserve” hits us with a ton of bricks. No one is deserving, no not one. There is nothing we can do to deserve eternal life. That is a gift from Jesus Christ, who gave his life for us and redeemed us from our sins. We don’t deserve it but He gives abundant life, more than we could ask for or imagine, to all who simply let go of all that is important to the world (and us) in exchange for all that is important to Him. “And that’s not all!” as the info commercials shout, our bonus is life eternal with Him! That’s means forever and ever, Amen.
Let go. Right now. Watch the demons go tumbling all over each other on the other side of the battle line.
Luke 18, The Message
The Rich Official
18 One day one of the local officials asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?”
19-20 Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don’t you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother.”
21 He said, “I’ve kept them all for as long as I can remember.”
22 When Jesus heard that, he said, “Then there’s only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go.
24-25 Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.”
26 “Then who has any chance at all?” the others asked.
27 “No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
28 Peter tried to regain some initiative: “We left everything we owned and followed you, didn’t we?”
29-30 “Yes,” said Jesus, “and you won’t regret it. No one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children—whatever—will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And then the bonus of eternal life!”
Dear Heavenly Father,
We repent of holding on to things of this world that have no heavenly value. Help us to focus on You and what You want for us. Thank you for giving us eternal life through Your work on the cross. We don’t deserve it, but you gave to all who believe because of your love for us. Thank you for loving us beyond our wildest dreams. Thank you for loosening the grip we have on this world exchanging it for a forever hold on You!
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.