You Can Have It All Except For...
By: Kristen L. McNulty
One of things that captures the attention of my nephew is when I do magic tricks with him. He'll pick an item and poof, Auntie Kristen makes it disappear. It might be a Kleenex, a toy car, even his picture in a snow globe, all it takes is me moving around in just the right way while saying just the right words and as far as he knows that thing is long gone.
There's really not a lot to it, but some people look at those tricks and think "special gift" while I look at it and think "it's something we all do in one way or another". Stay with me for a minute.
We as Christians know that following Jesus means leaving everything behind to follow Him. To deny ourselves, pick up our cross, abandon building our kingdom of this earth and instead build His. But how many of us while knowing this say with our words that we are in, but try to pull some sort of slight of hand to hold back what we treasure from God and instead keep it for ourselves?
Maybe for you it's money. You know what your supposed to be doing with yours but you're holding back, afraid of giving it all to God. Or maybe it's where you live, you're willing to do anything for God. That is, anything within a twenty mile radius of your current address and never anything across the world. Or maybe it's your marital status. You're ok with Jesus calling you to a different job, a different ministry, even a different land, but you certainly aren't okay with Him calling you to a life of singleness.
We all have things we try and hold back, doing the same things people do when performing slight of hand tricks: saying all the right words and pretending it isn't there, but holding into it just the same. So what's the fix? How do we let go? Well I believe that only can happen when we learn to treasure the Kingdom of God more than we treasure anything we can hang onto on this earth. When we believe the Kingdom of God is the highest treasure and it's growth matters more to us than anything, it's not nearly as difficult to let go the things we hold on to. Like Jesus said in the Gospels:
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! (Matthew 14:44-46)
God did not spare the cost of His son for our souls and lives, how can we hold back things from Him? That is grace, that we were bought at a price and that we were called to expand the Kingdom of God, a call that is greater than any dream, ideal or desire we could fathom.
Closing with a quote from The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonfoeffer:
"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.
Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: "ye were bought at a price," and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. " (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship)
Reprint rights available on request. Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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