And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29)
The more you have, the harder it is to sell everything you have and give it to Jesus. That may be why so many people give their lives to Christ when they have nothing left to lose. You might be clinging to an unhealthy relationship or an identity you have shaped. Maybe you have an addiction you have not been able to let go. Lots of people cling to a physical place. Do you love your house, your friends, your comfort, and the familiarity of your life? These are not bad things unless you place them above God.
The common thread behind all of these attachments is control. We want to control our lives and our choices, and we don’t like anyone who threatens to take that away. When you give your life to following Jesus, he asks you to give control to him. As one bumper sticker aptly put it: “If God is your co-pilot . . . switch seats!” Jesus wants to drive; he wants to lead, but he will not until you “lose your life” for his sake so he can give you the life he always meant for you to live.
Now here is a really important thing to understand. If you lay down all of these things in the service of Christ and his kingdom, he won’t necessarily take them away from you. He doesn’t ask us all to quit our jobs, leave our homes, and have an estate sale to liquidate all our earthly possessions. No, he only asks that we turn all of those decisions over to him.
If you have built a business that can generate great wealth, he may leave you right there so that the business can be used to his glory. If you are an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, he may want you to stay put and become a kingdom builder right where you are. If you love your community, he may use you to help transform it and reclaim it for his kingdom. He might even use your addiction as powerful testimony of his restorative power to transform human lives.
But he does require that the certificates of title be signed over to him. He becomes the owner, and we become the stewards, not of our possessions but of the Master’s possessions. I know many followers of Christ who are serving him in powerful ways, who have not been called to sell, leave, forsake, or abandon the lives they have built. But they have been called to use the lives they have built for Christ and his kingdom. Sometimes he does take the things we have laid down at his feet, but he always replaces them with something better.
What safeguards does your mind run to when you feel fear—your job, savings, family, or education? What’s the problem with depending on these things for safety or control?
Lord, thank you for being good and all-powerful. Please help me to trust you more than any of my usual sources of security. Help me to know you are the only true security.