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The difficult road of reckless abandon (part 1)

Leaving and cleaving. We do it when we marry, but how do we leave the world behind and cleave to Jesus? This first task of leaving is a tough one. Luke 12:13-34 is Jesus’ slap at those whose heart is wrapped around the things of this world. Leaving the cheap substitutes for …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Leaving and cleaving.
We do it when we marry, but how do we leave the world behind and cleave
to Jesus? This first task of leaving is
a tough one. Luke 12:13-34 is Jesus’
slap at those whose heart is wrapped around the things of this world.

Leaving the cheap substitutes for the pearl of great price
is hard. How do we leave?

One of two things must happen. Either the value of the life you’ve got must
be cheapened, or the value of the life promised must increase. As the risk/reward ratio changes, we become
convinced of the superior value of the life of abandon and faith to which Jesus
has called us. Once we have compared the
two, and found our current lifestyle wanting, it is a matter of simple
logistics.

It’s like playing the TV show “The Price is Right.” Most Americans want to hang on to the life
they’ve got now – that is to say, the insurance policies, the mortgage, the
furniture – the stuff that keeps them secure.
They can see it. It’s a safe
bet. What’s behind the curtain is
dangerous. It could be a fabulous prize
– a vacation to Tahiti, or it could a joke – a
donkey pulling a broken-down wagon.

We prefer the current life that we can see and are comfortable with to the one that Jesus describes in all his parables about the kingdom of heaven. Don’t you struggle with this? I’ve got a beautiful house and a nice little routine I go thru most days. But it doesn’t require the radical dependence on the Lord that he is inviting me to.

And that begs the question, “what do I do?” What do we who live in America do? We are richer and have more stuff than 99% of the people on the earth and too often, take a lot of that stuff for granted. We are called to a life of abandon and don’t even want to think about it – it sounds too radical and we’re too soft. Honestly, I have been struggling with this most of my life – this is a hard teaching from Jesus. What about you, do you have a plan for getting there?

Comments (7)

  • I guess I just don’t understand what I’m supposed to do. My whole life I’ve been involved in short term missions… now I work full time and go to graduate school at night. I do feel like God called me here (at least He opened all the doors and has blessed me tremendously). How can I have radical dependance on God and a life of abandonment? This is so frustrating! I just don’t want to waste my life.

  • Natalie emailed me privately and, after emailing my thoughts, I encouraged her to post her question in hopes that others would address this heart issue. I find the biblical precept, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” to be helpful. I think Jesus is saying “if your stuff is not more important to you than my stuff, you’re good to go.” In other words, Natalie could be doing just fine where she is now. Other thoughts?

  • I think many people are struggling with this issue not just in the US, but also up here in Canada. But God has called us to be in the world and not to just leave it.

    In Natalie’s case she is able to live her life in a world of school, work… We are not called to abandon the opportunities God gives us, but more take those opportunities and live them for Christ. Grad school is important, but God is greater. As long as we live our lives always being prepared to give up what we have around us, we are living as God has called.

    The real problem is that we are living lives of great excesses. We spend more money on lunch than some do on food for a month. You don’t have to live a life filled with excesses no matter where you are. You can live and minister no matter where God places you and still give back to him what is his. For most of us upping the amount we give to our offering and to sponser children could be an easy first step.

    Thats all for now. Not an easy question. With so many temptations around its easy to get sidetracked.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Peter
    http://www.lublink.ca

  • Natalie… great question.

    It reminded me of Paul saying ‘I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.’

    If God has called you into your situation, than praise Him! Don’t feel bad about not being somewhere else. Perhaps He is preparing you for a sacrifice He will ask you to make in the future. Perhaps you are already living the life of abandonment He has called you to; as it’s impossible to work and go to school full time without sacrificing other aspects of life.

    In any case, I think the principle remains the same: no matter what situation we are in, we should all be willing to lay down whatever we have or whoever we are when He asks us to. If we are holding on to Him more tightly than our own stuff or our own plans, we are experiencing the freedom of the life of abandonment.

    God Bless,

    Katherine =)

  • it’s worth noting that Katherine is a World Racer who is practicing what she preaches, having sold her home and left it all behind for a year. if you want to know what it feels like – log onto her blog and ask her!

  • That is exactly what I am going through right now, Natalie! 🙁 It’s not fun! There is a guy in my life who is a prospective boyfriend right now and I have been struggling to give it completely over to Christ. I know that I am made complete only in Christ, but it is so hard to remember when marriage is the desire of my heart! It seems that I put it on God’s proverbial desk and then end up taking it back again. 🙁 I suppose it is a process and not something that will happen over night. I could really use some prayers in being recklessly abandoned to Jesus Christ.

  • For starters, i’m a backslidden Christian who just returned from a retreat with Pastor Andrew Sherman and renewed my commitment to Christ…

    Natalie, you’re doing just fine! In order to achive the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, which is a mandate, BTW, “On Earth as it is in Heaven.” God’s plan requires educated people of all useful fields of study, who have hearts on fire for God, and minds capable of the clear, creative and critical thinking in order to put His plan into action…

    Complete your education and surrender your entire will and being to God’s will and you will be on the journey of a REAL lifetime…

    I’m struggling with this somewhat radical idea myself. But just being a Christian and going to church and getting to Heaven is no way enough for me. That’s part of what led me back to lean on my own understanding in the first place…

    Heaven on Earth is the difficult, dangerous and incredibly RESPONSIBLE awesome objective. Getting to Heaven is easy…

    God Bless!

    Greg

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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