December 21, 2016


Philippians 2:6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…

Once again I like the turn of phrase in the Japanese here. It says, “He did not consider equality with God as something He could not discard (let go of).” That’s the absolute opposite of a hoarding mentality! If Jesus was willing to let go even of that for our sake, what business do we have hanging onto anything at all, if it gets in the way of our serving Him? We hang onto all sorts of things, which just proves we don’t fully trust God as our total supply. I’m reminded yet again of Nate Saint’s famous statement: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” He was speaking of physical life and eternal life, and he indeed gave his physical life as a missionary in South America, killed by indigenous people who later came to Christ. On a much lower plane, I’m also reminded of the entirely fictional story of the man who was such a fine Christian that God let him take some of his wealth to heaven with him. After he got there he was talking with a friend who had arrived earlier and showed him the bar of gold he had brought. The friend was incredulous, and said, “You brought PAVING??” (Revelation 21:21) We hang onto so much that is temporal, and that benefits no one. It’s not that temporal things aren’t useful, it’s that we forget that they are temporary. We are stewards of absolutely everything we have, even our physical lives and the bodies we inhabit. We need to be willing to let go of anything and everything in order to lay hold of what God has for us, for His glory.

Helping a 79-year-old woman move, really for the first time in her life, has brought this into very sharp focus. Cathy and I are searching for the right people to make good use of what she doesn’t need to hang onto at this point, but there is just so much of it! That makes me look at all the stuff I have, with the same frame of mind. I too could make a mountain of material stuff that is immaterial to me (if you’ll pardon the play on words). When Jesus is my Lord and my example, I need to be willing to let go of anything and everything. That’s not to say I’m to haul everything to the dump today, but it is to say that I am to keep stewardship in sharp focus, remembering that nothing is ever permanently mine other than my relationship with God in Christ. I am indeed to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,” (Matthew 6:33) on every level, all the way down to my physical life and my emotional attachments. Sometimes the sentimental stuff is the hardest to get rid of! If I will do that, God’s “riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) will indeed be mine, for His pleasure and glory.

Father, thank You for all that You are teaching me. It is so like You to be teaching me to let go even while You are giving us the land next door. Help me keep everything in perspective, seeing things and people through Your eyes, so that Your will may be done in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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