Monday, August 16, 2010

Letting Go

When I was a kid, I used to love reading about animals. Everything about animals: what they ate, where they lived, everything. I had a subscription to a magazine called “Ranger Rick.” “Ranger Rick” was a kid’s magazine that was all about animals and the environment. Grandma Howard got me the subscription for Christmas one year, and she renewed it every Christmas until I finally outgrew it. Okay, maybe a year or two after I outgrew it. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of something so comfortable and familiar. I also had another magazine called “Zoobooks.” “Zoobooks” was much more detailed and scientific. Each month, they focused on one particular animal and told you absolutely everything about that animal.

I can’t remember which magazine it was, probably Zoobooks, but I remember reading about a particular type of monkey one time. It told about a method that hunters or poachers would use to catch the monkeys alive. The hunters would hollow out a small opening in the face of a large boulder or something similar. At the end of this narrow opening, they would carve out a slightly larger opening and then put food in it that the monkeys liked to eat. You see, the opening was barely large enough for the monkey to slip his hand in, but when he clenched his fist around the food, his hand no longer fit and he was stuck there. Even as the hunters approach the monkey, he was so unwilling to let go of the food that he allowed himself to be captured.

How alike we are to those monkeys. We are so unwilling to let go of the things we have, that we often miss out on something even better, maybe even our own salvation. Just like those monkeys, we cling so tightly to our possessions that we become trapped by them. And just like those hunters, our enemy, the devil, knows of our weakness, and knows how to use it against us.

I am probably more guilty of this than most. I don’t have a lot, but I really like the things I have. My home theater system, my magic-motion clock, my computer, my comic books, not to mention the things that once belonged to my grandparents or great-grandparents. Those things are all so important to me and I would be devastated to lose any of them, even though I know that God doesn’t want us to cling to the materials of this world.

This is a lesson that God has placed on my heart and mind very clearly recently. Pastor Mike has delivered, I think, three different sermons now regarding this topic in various forms, and whenever I “randomly” browse through the bible, the topic seems to come up. It seems there is something that God wants me to give up, and I confess that I have been dragging my feet and not looking very closely at the matter. It’s never easy letting go of things. Then yesterday at church, Pastor Mike’s sermon was about following God’s will all the way, not just doing the things that come easily, but also the things that are hard.

This is going to take some thought and prayer, like almost everything else, and I want to make sure I’m clear on it. I got seriously dissed by someone close to me last week and it’s left my head in kind of a mess. Also, I have this thing with the Lion’s Club hanging over me and I’m still not sure what I want to do about that. Where do you draw the line between rushing into something, and doing more damage by taking too long?

Well, one thing that I’ve learned is that no matter how badly I screw something up, God will always be there to help me pick up the pieces. There is comfort in that, at least.

1 Peter 2:15 For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.


  1. Wow. This is 'profound' and gives me much to think about. Also, really appreciated your post on hope. We talked about Job today in Sunday School.

  2. Becky, I'm glad God is speaking to you! Thank you for reading, and thanks for your comment.