'Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes even one's own self!—can't be my disciple.' (vs. 26 MSG)
The invitation to follow Jesus is an invitation to live life in a way that is oriented differently than, and counter cultural to, this world we are called to live in. Jesus' invitation is a call to hold loosely all the things precious and valuable to me—my family, my friends, my work, my dreams, and my desires, in hands stretched open in front of God.
Of course I'm not good at this naturally. For a while I am mindful of the need to surrender and hold these things loosely. For a while I work hard at surrendering these things to God. But slowly the entitlement of following my own desires and determining how I live my life sneaks back in as I go about my days in a less focused and intentional way. Jesus in His grace convicts and draws me back to Himself, inviting me once again to trust Him with these things I care the most about.
It has been seven months since I preached a sermon on this very topic at my church. In this time I have slowly reclaimed the 'right' to determine what my life is about and what my priorities are. I have forgotten that Jesus asks me to be willing to lay these things down as I walk alongside Him. The request to reflect and respond to this passage today is not an accident, but another invitation to walk alongside Jesus, holding loosely the things I care about and desire, rather than grasping tightly onto these things that are so important to me.
In surrendering these things I am not giving up on them or even divesting myself of them. I am entrusting them to the God who knows the whole world, loves me, and cares about the things I care about. Our all-knowing God cares about these things infinitely more and better than I do. So the invitation to surrender these things to God is an invitation to place the things most important to me in hands far better at caring for and carrying these things.
Our God is so gracious!
Lenten Reader 2018
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