Know When To Fold 'Em

If you enjoy something in this world without saying a blessing, it's as if you stole it. Talmud Berachot 35A

Have you thought much about what to keep and what to give away lately? It's a strange revelation to me when I think of the things I hold on to and why. I hold onto memories. I hold onto friends. I sometimes hold onto grudges, too. I hold onto these things because I may feel an irrational connection or I value them so deeply that to live without them would be unthinkable. But, reality speaks to me in gentle tones as memories fade, friends move on and grudges can be forgiven.

What about our rights and entitlements as Americans? Would we try to keep them or give them away? What if our property was demolished, our family wiped out and our career dead? Maybe there is something noble and honorable about fighting and dying for what we think is right but a very wise man once reminded me that all martyrs have one thing in common.

Jesus speaks with a certain ruler. He's asked about inheriting eternal life. Jesus responds truthfully. We can do nothing to achieve eternal life and we can never be good enough. The life Jesus invites us to participate in has nothing to do with accumulation, rights, entitlement or inheritance. Salvation is ultimately not possible for humanity and only possible with God. But, hear what sounds like the punch line: after a time of weakness, trial, suffering, pain and death 'on the third day he will rise again.'

The irreducible quality of resilience demonstrated in Jesus Christ can be so intoxicating to me, I sometimes look for things to give away just to see how he replaces them for me. I often find through the excruciating process of giving away whatever I received makes the previous things I held onto pale in comparison. Then, I am blessed. I drop to my knees in praise and wonder as the tiny universe I once held onto so tightly  gives way to the ever expanding Kingdom of God. Humility is a far better partner on my journey I discovered. Nothing really belongs to us. But, we do have a choice. Have you thought much about what to keep and what to give away?

"The disciples didn't understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about." Luke 19:34 NIV

-Pastor Jen