Holding Things Loosely

Yesterday at church, the pastor was talking about Jesus’ question to Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” He was talking about all the things “these” could be in our lives – basically anything that we might love more than Jesus. He asked us to think about what we might be unwilling or unable to let go of for the Lord. He said for most people, the answer is easy – whatever it is, it comes to you quickly. They will be the things you hold most tightly, the things you rely on or think you can’t live without.

I knew immediately what I held most tightly. It’s my family. All my greatest fears are wound up in the idea of something happening to any of them. What would I do if one of my kids was terminally ill, or if my husband was killed by a drunk driver?

I also noticed that my answer has changed over time. That was interesting. My family has always topped my list, but there used to be other things in there as well, things that I don’t care as much about as I once did, but certainly remember holding very tightly. Financial security. Status and reputation among my peers. Material comforts.

I can see where God has been working on my heart in many areas. I used to dream of the huge house I would buy someday where everything would be new and beautiful. It made me very discontented with my home. Frankly, I needed to get over myself. I started praying about that years ago, and now it’s amazing how much affection I have for my house. I love it here! Sure, the kitchen is as old as me, and we wish we had a bigger yard, but now instead of seeing what I don’t have, I am grateful for what I do have. How many people in the world would love to have a home, any home? Mine is a palatial mansion compared to so many places I have been. What a gift to be happy and grateful where you are.

But would God ask me to go further? Not just to be content with my house and grateful for it, but to be willing to let it go? What if we lost this house, or we were called to sell everything and move to a place where we knew no one? What if we were told to give everything away and go on the mission field? Could I do that with a grateful heart? Would that stop me from trusting God or from obeying Him? I don’t think so. I’m not saying I would love it, but I also don’t think I would hold onto that. I know who God is, and He’s got that. He’s got our financial security, our comfort.

But my family. That’s the sticking point, isn’t it? I can test all kinds of theories in my head and God comes out the winner. But could I give up my family and still say “He gives and takes away – blessed be the name of the Lord?”

Well, I have experienced a piece of that with the loss of my dad to Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It was not easy. It was incredibly painful. And yet, God was faithful. God is good, and I know I will see my dad again. God reminds me of what He’s already done.

It’s clear to me. Holding loosely to things doesn’t mean we don’t love them. It doesn’t mean we don’t treasure them or even that we wouldn’t be willing to die for them. Holding loosely just means that we acknowledge that God is God. That nothing comes before Him. That it really is His decision how He wants to use us, and if we are going to be obedient, there will be sacrifice and cost to that. God loves us, and He promises that He will use all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). So holding loosely is being grateful for the things He’s given us to hold, while trusting Him to do what’s best for us and for them and letting Him do it.

What do you need to work on holding more loosely?

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