Friday, January 7, 2011

A Bigger Blessing

"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." -- Philippians 3:8

One of the hardest things we will ever do in this life is let go of that which is comfortable or treasured.  Whether it is the money we have worked so hard to earn and become so dependent upon, the comfort of a routine that has become deeply ingrained in our daily lives, or a sinful pleasure that we can't imagine giving up, our refusal to open our hand and release that which we so tightly grip can actually stand in the way of God's bigger blessings for our life.  When it comes right down to it, we have little control over some of the things that happen to us, so why do we try so hard to control everything?  Take money, for instance.  Despite the needs of so many around us and the fact that we are so much more blessed than others, we are hesitant to give our money to causes that could help because we are afraid that there will be nothing left to take care of our own needs.  In God's economy, that is that exact opposite of what he teaches us.  "Give, and it shall be given to you," says Jesus in Luke 6:38.

Several years ago I was employed in full-time ministry at my church in a position that gave me a great sense of fulfillment and purpose.  At the time, my children were both under the age of ten so I made sure my schedule was flexible enough that I could be home with them before and after school.  But as my children grew older, their need for my time and attention increased.  The overtime I had to work on occasion, coupled with the emotional toll the job took on me at times, left me with little to offer my own family in the evenings.  When I realized that God was calling me to an even greater ministry at home, I resigned my position at the church, even though it was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made.  I loved that job and the people I served with, and it took me a long time to get over the loss of being with them and doing a job that was so well matched to my gifts and abilities.  But God had a greater blessing in store for me, one which I would have totally missed had I not been obedient and let go of the job I had come to love so much.  Although my obedience resulted in the loss of a full-time salary, which took a financial toll on us, the blessings of a closer relationship with my husband and children, a more intimate walk with God, and a new ministry as a writer and speaker far outweighed anything I lost by surrendering to God's will.

What area of your life are you holding onto for dear life?  Could it be that God is calling you to make a change but you are afraid to step out of the boat?  If we aren't careful, the things that mean so much to us can quickly become idols and a hindrance to a closer relationship with God.  If God asks you to give up something or someone you have come to love, be obedient and trust him for a bigger blessing!    Dare to open your hand and release the thing you so tightly hold!  Only when your hand is open can you receive the bigger blessings God has in store for you.

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