Following Jesus closely messes up our tidy little kingdoms, and that does not always attract the masses. But at the same time, in following Jesus we receive a life far more abundant than anything in this world can offer. It is this abundant life that we are to demonstrate to others that it is worth losing it all. (Author unknown)
In a not-too-distant past, in a moment of utter honesty, I wrote these words in my journal after having read this quote: What I am discovering is NO ONE wants their kingdom messed with! After all, what we really want is life to go well. I want life to go well. I want my husband to love me, my kids to behave, the mortgage to be paid on time, my friends to be loyal, my boss to appreciate me, my health to remain enough to enjoy my grandkids. I really don’t ask for much. (Smiley face.) And I really don’t want anyone to rock my boat! Not even Jesus. Because I’m not sure Jesus is concerned about my tidy life as I am. (Ahhh..I’m beginning to see the problem.)
In fact, I’m not sure he appreciates how much work it has taken to achieve this tidy life. I’ve worked hard at it, I’ve earned it, it’s mine. How can I release control of it to a God who is so unpredictable and sometimes feels so random in his ways? I think I’ll hold on to the reins, keep God at a safe distance but still in comfortable view, and keep holding on. After all I don’t think Jesus is all that concerned about my comfort. He’s always trying to teach me something (something I’d rather not learn) at the expense of turning things upside down. Sometimes I wished he’d just leave things alone. I’m not willing to sacrifice my carefully constructed life for a shot at an “abundant” life. Whatever that means. After all, if I can get life to stay put for awhile, it’s a pretty good life.
Of course the problem is…life never stays put. A job is downsized. The doctor calls. A spouse gets restless. A police officer arrives at your door. When will we realize control is an illusion? Our frantic attempts to secure our lives are doomed to fail.
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it.” (Matt. 16:25)
Someone has said, “Sin is the desperate attempt to construct a life according our own cherished image.” The problem comes when this carefully constructed life becomes our treasure. “For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our heart is committed to pursuing our treasure. If that treasure is not God, then we will try to use him to secure it. Life with God simply dissolves into our attempts to manipulate, cajole or appease him in order to achieve something that will not last. We will forever be grasping and live out our days in bitter frustration.
But when God is our treasure (“Love the Lord your God will all your heart..”) our attempts at securing life become like the Apostle Paul’s, “I want to know Christ and…..to be found in him” (Phil. 3:9,10). We loose the death grip on our demand that life go well and embrace instead “the life that is truly life” (1 Tim. 6:19) that Christ offers. It is a life spent WITH God. A life that is given over to hope instead of despair. A life lived attentively for moments of grace. A life sustained by joy and swallowed up in the embrace of God.
“But whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matt. 16:25)
Take time today to reflect on what you are pursuing. For that is your treasure.