This morning I am going on a long walk. When I return I will drop down for a few push-ups. I submit my body to this monotonous up and down drudgery with a grudge. I do it because I am supposed to.
I feel the same way about following Jesus at times.
Yesterday I shared with our church about taking my family and everything I have (time, talents, and treasures), holding it in open palms before the Lord Jesus, and saying . . .
I told the church that I did that without any warm fuzzies. I did it because He is worth so much more. And He is. But in that moment I had to ask myself if that were really true in my life.
Side note: Strange stuff happens when one preaches. You can be talking with people and at the exact same moment be carrying on an internal conversation with God, yourself, or both -- and it happens in nanoseconds. Crazy stuff!
Sunday morning I carried out my open-palms exercise much like my push-up routine. I did it out of duty. It was a spiritual push-up of sorts. I put forth the effort, but there was little joy in it. Why? Perhaps because I still loved my handful of treasures more than Christ.
When I love my stuff more than the Savior I have to muscle up some strong devotion to submit all that I have to him. But yesterday was different. For a moment my duty turned to delight. It happened as I was sharing these words:
Jesus did not come to be your genie. He did not come to be your life coach. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords before whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess. One day he will come (Revelation tells us) riding a white horse, large and in charge. And that Jesus said, "Come follow me and I will give you life that is life indeed. But I don't bow down to you . . ."
And then I asked our congregation, "Will you take him that way?"
And in that moment I saw him that way: the grand, glorious, big, humble, majestic, mighty, loving, sacrificial Son of God. I saw him as my rescuing Savior and I saw him as the conquering Warrior King.
In that moment holding those open palms became so much easier because Jesus "became so much greater."
Two hundred years ago, Thomas Chalmers preached a sermon entitled, "The Expulsive Power Of A New Affection." Chalmers notes that none of us can change by the mere force of "mental determination." He said . . .
Jesus has always been the "something better." But there are times I see that more clearly than others. Yesterday was one of those times.
So this morning I am taking my family and everything I have (time, talents, treasures along with all the trinkets that break, rust, and fade) and holding them in open palms before Jesus. And I will say, "All to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give.
I will do this because I am supposed to and I will do this because I want to. Because when I really see him in all his surpassing greatness, God changes my "should do" to a "want to."
What's in your palms? Will you hold it open-handed before Christ?