Thought of the Day November 1, 2017 Surrender

By 9:38 AM

Called to let go all things totally in order to follow Christ freely and unreservedly:

Lk 9: 57-58. The disciple is called to cling to nothing except Jesus, trusting that he will provide for all our needs. Nothing is to possess us and we are to possess nothing which would prevent us from following the Lord. The rich young man in the Gospel of Matthew wanted to obtain everlasting life. So Jesus told him that minimally he must keep the commandments. But the young man said he had been doing this. He asked if there was something further to do. In response to that grace moment, Jesus told him: "If you seek perfection, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor. You will then have treasure in heaven. Afterward, come back and follow me." The scriptures say he went away sad "for his possessions were many" (Mt 19:16-22)

The key phrase is "seek perfection" which is what growing in the fuller life of the Spirit is all about. We could choose to live the Christian life at the lowest level or we could seek the grace to live the full Christian life at the highest level. But to do so we must be willing to free our hearts from that which would weigh us down. It is like a hot air balloon. To rise higher and higher the weights which are attached to the side of the condola need to be jettisoned. For us to grow in perfection we must be willing to sacrifice anything and everything which distracts us from the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not that we are not to have any material possessions or human relations. But that neither material possessions nor human relations are to come before the Lordship of Jesus in our life. Recall the dilemma of Abraham when Yahweh told him to take his Son Isaac and go up to the mountain and sacrifice him. Isaac was for Abraham the fulfillment of Yahweh's promises to him. In Isaac Abraham would be insured a future. Isaac was the promised-seed of many future blessings. And yet God was asking Abraham to dispossess himself of his future hope for descendants as numerous as the sands on the shore and the stars in the heavens--to dispossess and totally depend on Yahweh to still fulfill his promises.

When Abraham made the choice with heavy heart to follow Yahweh's command and offer Isaac in sacrifice, he showed that he was totally committed to Yahweh. He would not allow anything to possess him, even the son he loved so dearly. In return he received Isaac back and the fulfillment of all the promises.

"I give you my word," Jesus said, "there is no one who has given up home, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children or property, for me and for the gospel who will not receive in this present age a hundred times as many homes, brothers and sisters, mothers, children and property....and in the age to come, everlasting life" (Mk 10:29-30).

So what possesses us that if Jesus asked us to sacrifice it at the cross, we would not be able to do so? It doesn't have to be a material possession, it could be a relationship or a perceived need without which we would not survive, such as affirmation and acceptance, emotional highs, spiritual joys. It may be something that we at first feel that God is asking too much of us, that it would be impossible humanly to let go this particular thing or person. To this Jesus says: "For man it is impossible; but for God all things are possible" (Mt 10:26). Only by the grace of God can we make the decision to let go anything because the desire to be possessed by God becomes greater.

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