“Persevere at your calling,” says the speaker at this weekend’s conference for writers. His message is good, yet I keep thinking about the message of a previous conference years ago. The speaker at that one said, “We are not called to be writers, but called to love and obey God. Today He may be asking you to write, but tomorrow He might ask you to do something else.”
For some reason, my computer devotional reading for today jumped backwards two days. I checked and it will be on the proper day by Monday, so decided to read “My Utmost for His Highest.” God has his ways of giving me what I need to hear. Chambers is on the theme of absolute surrender, a challenge on my mind for these past few weeks. He offers two verses that point to the call of Christ for total abandonment in following Him.
And Jesus, looking at him (a rich young ruler), loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)
The rich young ruler wanted to be perfect, even wanted to be like Jesus, but Jesus did not ask for personal holiness but the absolute annihilation of any right to himself or his stuff. Jesus wants a relationship with Himself in which there is no other allegiance, one in which He is the only treasure.
That verse from Mark is not about how to be saved, or even how to be set apart for God. It is about giving up everything else that tugs at my heart, every ambition and desire, every possession and every other thing I value that I might hear and obey Him.
Luke 14:26 also is not about salvation or even sanctification, but concerns unconditional identification with Jesus Christ. It is the breaking of alabaster and the pouring out of all that is costly and held dear. It is the absolute “go” of abandonment to Jesus, a life that very few choose or even know.
When Jesus looked at this young man, and loved him, that look should have broken his heart and the hold on it by any other treasures. Sadly, it did not. I can relate. Chambers asks, “Has Jesus ever looked at you?” He goes on to say that the look of Jesus transforms and transfixes. What he does not say is that this transformation may not be instant for some. It is a look that softens the heart toward God, but if I am hard or insistent on my own way, this indicates chunks of my nature that have never been transformed by His eyes. I need to stay under His gaze.
“You lack one thing . . .” and it is a different thing for each one who has not totally surrendered his or her life to Jesus. The only ‘good thing’ He wants is absolute union with Himself with nothing in between.
Selling whatever I have is a euphemism for reducing myself to total reliance on nothing else but Him. This is not for saving my soul for only one thing saves — faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.
This absolute reliance the only answer to His call to “Come, and follow Me.”