“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39
There is something about men and their stuff. It might be a classic car, a beautiful home, a special set of tools, a fast boat, fishing and hunting gear, or some other type of precious possession. Whatever it is, we don’t typically part with our stuff too easily. Most garage sales I’ve been to have household items and some women’s clothing. The guy’s stuff is usually carefully stored on shelves out of sight from the potential buyers.
It’s interesting to realize, we really don’t possess what we have in this life: our homes, our jobs, our toys, our automobiles, or even our family. They are simply entrusted to us for a period of time by a loving God. After all, He is the author of live, death, prosperity, success, and promise. It is all His. He gives us the capability and relationships to acquire things, but ultimately, He owns it all.
There are times we have a tight grip on our things. For some their stuff is so precious they won’t trust even their closest friends with it. When we recall the story of Abraham and Isaac we stand amazed at the fact that Abraham would seriously consider taking the life of his only son, for whom he waited 100 years. To surrender this child was the test given by God. Now, none of us would consider our children, our spouse, or other family and friends as “stuff.” So, at the risk of being redundant, the point is that EVERYTHING we have comes from God. So, colloquially speaking, it was as if God said, “Trust me with your stuff” (i.e., everything in your life). Why would God ask Abraham for such an overwhelming act of obedience?
God knew that Isaac was never in danger, but Abraham’s faith and obedience was on trial. Abraham could have disobeyed God and held on to his son. After all Isaac was his prized possession. God tested Abraham’s heart to identify his true priorities and willingness to realize that everything he owns, including his precious son, was God’s. Abraham passed the test of trusting his son to God when he was willing to place God’s will and plan for his life above his own desires. How would you do with such a trial?
The test proved that Abraham didn’t really own his son – God did. It was God who provided the ram to be sacrificed instead of Isaac. God was simply asking Abraham, “do you really trust me?” God was saying, in effect, “do you trust your own understanding more than mine?” And the amazing thing is that Abraham trusted God so much that he said to his servants in Genesis 22:5, “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Did you catch that? “I AND the lad will go yonder and worship, and COME AGAIN TO YOU. Abraham had such faith in God that he knew the boy would not die—or if Isaac did die, God would resurrect him from the dead. Friends, that is faith.
If we follow Abraham’s example and hold on to everything loosely, then we can see God’s plan regarding how our stuff is to be used for His purpose. The Apostle John said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1
And so, my friends, whom do you trust with your stuff?
What seems simple isn’t necessarily easy. In what ways is God asking you to consider relaxing your grip on something you think belongs to you?
How can you utilize and share the very possessions God gave you to assist others?
Are you holding your stuff too tightly?
This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.