The scripture passage used for this Sunday (2/2) was Luke 5:1-11.
The two questions are regarding vs 11: So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him (NIV). Why is it so hard to give up everything as the 3 did? And why is it so hard to continue after you have, or thought you had given up everything?
Sometimes it is easy to forget that we have three years condensed into some 20 chapters that comprise the gospel of Luke (excluding the first couple of chapters that tell us of Jesus’ early years). It helps to understand, firstly that Luke had to leave out many stories and secondly that it was no less easy for those disciples to give up everything than it is for us. In reading the other accounts of the disciples there were often times where they just didn’t get it, when they didn’t want to get it, when they wanted to give up or when they found it very difficult to “be on the road with Jesus”.
It is hard “to give everything up” for many reasons:
– We find security in holding on to what we have, or at least we think life is secure in what we know and have. We place a lot of our trust in what we have. Sometimes we have to, but all to frequently we do it to an unhealthy degree. This becomes very apparent when something comes along that we don’t know or can’t control. In those moments life gets scary because decisions and lifes’ direction are no longer in our hands. The question then is: To whom / what am I going to give control to? God deeply desires that we give control to Him.
– We find security in what is consistent – well for the majority of us at least. We place our trust in what we can assume to be there all the time. That makes change hard. New technology, new means of communication, the different ways new generations approach life, new definitions of what is and isn’t moral, growth, etc. . Isn’t there just one place we can count on to be consistent in our lives? That truth is no different in our faith. God wants change in our lives, not for change for changes’ sake, but change because He wants us to grow to be the people He created us to be.
– We often find it difficult to trust. At one point or another we have been hurt by someone we once trusted. They may have betrayed us. They may have lied to us. They may have not turned out to be the person we hoped they would be. The same can be true with God. In our minds we may say that we trust God. In our hearts we may feel that we do trust God, but somewhere deep within we all have our doubts.
All of that being said, there are things that can allow for an easier transition. Seeing others depend on God helps (especially when they do it in the difficulties of their lives). Intentionally looking for moments where God honors what little we give up to Him can turn into big victories when we add them all together. I believe that there are three powerful ways that help us to give up “everything”. Read your Bible, pray and spend time with others where you can talk about your struggles, find encouragement through them in times where you doubt and when you get to know each other well enough as a group; to hold each other accountable for what we so strongly refuse to give up.
The great news is that each time we grab things back out of God’s hands, He challenges us and invites us to return to Him and put our struggles, distractions, failures, hurts, hopes, desires in His hands.
Don’t give up on giving things up to God. Don’t give up on yourself when you feel like you are far from meeting the disciples’ standards. It took an adult life for them to begin to get it right. It took a long time for them to learn to trust each other and to trust Christ. When they did though, their faith grew in leaps and bounds.