1Sam4,5,6; Luke 18:1-23

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17

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When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Luke 18:22-23

I have a strange relationship with the tension these kinds of verses cause me.  On the one hand, Jesus seems to be saying it is an easy thing to “receive the Kingdom of God” – it’s so easy – a child could do it.   On the other hand, he says to the rich man, you have to give away everything and follow me – not so easy sounding.

Of course that tension I feel is not by accident.  I’ve always thought that God puts tension in our lives to keep us from getting complacent. If we’re comfortable – if we’re just dialing it in – that’s when the enemy get’s in.

But, still, I struggle with the tension.  I know it isn’t about it being so easy a child could do it – it’s about how completely a child trusts – how completely open he is to hear the Word.  It isn’t about checking the boxes on your spiritual “to-do” list – it’s about truly following Christ.  The struggle for me is in reconciling the tension.  Am I supposed to be able to do that?  I feel like I should be able to.  I pray for help, but the tension is still there.

When I gave my life to Christ, I honestly made the link – I knew that moment was about accepting the free gift.  Acknowledging that I would never be able to earn Grace and that Jesus had to do it for me.  My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude and I strive to live my life to repay what he did for me – but still – the tension.  Is it enough?  Am I doing enough?  Do I need to “serve the least of these” more? Do I need to give away every thing I own? I know I’m saved – because I truly believe what scripture teaches about salvation – but will He greet me with “Well done, good and faithful servant? ”

God – I want to hear that greeting.  Help me Lord to reconcile the tension and break down the walls of apathy in my life.  Lead me where you would go! Amen

Jim (jmitch1)

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “1Sam4,5,6; Luke 18:1-23

  1. “If we’re comfortable – if we’re just dialing it in – that’s when the enemy get’s in.” Well said!

  2. Jim and Kathy, I’m right there with you. We have this saying in counseling that there is good stress and bad stress. We are all familiar with the bad kind – overwhelming situations, grief, tragedy, etc., which shuts us down or causes us to seek escape. The good stress, however, motivates us to move forward and to reach for “the higher prize.” That’s what this tension is like to me, a longing to serve more, cling tighter to God, and seek to love Him and others like our Lord, Jesus Christ. A little risky, a little stressful? Sure, what a meaningful and rewarding adventure it will be!

  3. Your post brought to mind this: a friend of mine had gifted me a very generous service. I wanted to say thank you to him, and looked for a gift that I could give to him. Everything I considered seemed so small and insignificant. It made me think of what grace is: abundant, generous, undeserved. My thankful token was accompanied by a deep humility and gratitude for his love and it actually put God’s grace in a very clear and magnified perspective: an abundant, generous, undeserved gift that humbles me and fills me with gratitude.

  4. OK, it’s Friday and I am still thinking about “the tensions” Jesus sets up in the Gospels and in our lives and I am seeing them in a different light… not opportunities to beat myself up because I am falling short but as times to lean into God and ask Him how He wants me to follow. There’s no formula to follow here…I like that.

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