Holding Too Tightly
KEY PASSAGE: Luke 12:13-21
SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE: Ezekiel 18:20 | John 19:12
God is the Source of every blessing.
Some people recognize this and know how to handle the good things He gives. They worship the Giver, not His gifts. Other people hold too tightly to the blessings He sends. They sacrifice for them, plan their lives around them, and think about them constantly. Their relationships with God suffer as they pursue more and more of what they treasure. As a result, the Lord sometimes has to strip away those blessings.
The Life Principle here is that anything you hold too tightly, you will lose. It is illustrated by the parable of the rich man in Luke 12:13-21. As his wealth increased, so did his pride and self-sufficiency. Ultimately, his arrogance cost him his life, and his riches were taken away.
Life is more than living for yourself.
In this parable, God gave the rich man abundant provisions. But he didn't think to acknowledge the Lord as his Source. In his arrogance, he planned to store his grain and take life easyand as a result, God took his life that very night (Luke 12:13-21). Jesus told this parable to warn the people, "Be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions" (Luke 12:15). It is foolish to ignore God and think only of what we can experience, achieve, or accumulate.
I remember a story about an elderly man who asked his grandson what he planned to do with his life. The young man said he wanted to have getan education, find a well-paying job, and then become wealthy. His ultimate goal was to retire and enjoy life. The grandfather asked, "What then?" The young man had never considered what would happen after his death. When our earthly lives are over, we must all be prepared to give an account of ourselves to the Lord.
What do people hold too tightly?
Relationships. A definite way to destroy a relationship is to try to control someone. No one wants to lose his or her freedom.
Goals and Dreams. We should ask the Lord to show us what goals to pursue and keep Him first as we work toward them.
The Past. One of the most destructive things you can hold on to is your past, especially if it is full of unforgiveness, bitterness, or resentment.
Old Hurts. All of us have been mistreated at one time or another. Surrender those difficulties, heartaches, and problems to the Lord. If you try to live with them, you will lose your joy and peace.
Wrong Ideas and Perceptions. Some people cling to incorrect theology because it is what their parents or other authority figures taught them. But every concept should be submitted to the Word of God.
Timing. You and I must learn to surrender to God's schedule.
Something Valuable. What do you treasure most? Maybe you think of your spouse or children. Perhaps your home, an expensive automobile, or another costly possession comes to mind. But be careful not to make them into idolsall of these things can be taken away.
Judas wanted Jesus to overthrow the Roman government. With his betrayal, Judas hoped to force Christ to take military action and set up an earthly kingdom.
Pilate treasured his career. He agreed to have Jesus crucified because he feared losing his political position.
King Saul wanted to keep the kingdom for himself. As a result, He relentlessly pursued David, who had been anointed as the next king. Despite Saul's efforts, the kingdom eventually passed to David and his descendants.
Peter refused to believe that Jesus had to die. He tried to protect the Lord, even when his support hindered Christ's divine mission.
Potiphar's wife lusted after Joseph. She should have simply enjoyed his capable leadership and sought to be his friend. But she forfeited all interaction with him when her false accusations put him in jail.
The children of Israel wanted more than one day's worth of manna. When they tried to hoard it for the future, it always spoiled.
Why do people hold things too tightly?
Fear of Loss. Remember that if God gives you something, He can guard it for you.
Failure to Trust God. When we start to love His gifts more than we love Him, we will always suffer. You and I may not always lose what we cling to. Instead, we may forfeit something far more precious, such as healthy relationships with our family, or our contentment and joy.
Pride. We can grasp positions, possessions, or prominence in a way that deeply hurts others.
Wrong Sense of Values. Many people place too much importance on worldly goals, such as accumulating wealth. Don't let anything ruin your relationship with God.
Jealousy. Do you ever wish you could take someone's place? Perhaps have their beauty, position, or possessions? Most likely, you wouldn't be prepared for it. God gives each of us what we are equipped to handle.
What is God's perspective?
When you and I prioritize anything other than our relationships with the Lord, He sees it as competition. God will target whatever comes between us and Him. He may allow us to experience brokenness so that we turn back to Him. He doesn't want anything to interfere with our fellowship with Him.
How can you release your grip?
Begin by recognizing that God is not first in your life. Then ask Him: How much of my time, thoughts, or energy do I put towards this item, position, or person? Acknowledge that there is an idol in your lifethat you spend more time and energy thinking about something other than the Lord. Finally, decide to put everything in its proper place. Let Jesus be first, and He will help you arrange all other priorities.
Is the Lord the most important Person in your life? Do you submit your decisions to Him on a regular basis? He has a wonderful purpose and plan for you, but you will never experience His best if you are focused on other objectives.
I pray that you will make the Lord your top priority. Open your hands and let Him have what you have been holding. He may not even take it awayHe may simply realign your thinking. The most valuable thing in your life is your relationship with Him. When you allow God to be number one in your life, the blessings will flow beyond comprehension.
We should live respectively, sensitive to the accountability of discipleship. We should wear our work clothes and keep the lamps burning, looking for the Lord's return by serving him faithfully.
Love & Prayers,
Michael J. Knight.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say, "I used everything that you gave me."