First off, doesn't that crack you up, God wants us? God? The God that can do anything, is everywhere, knows everything? That God wants us? Why?
Do you really, all on your own, desire to be friends with the doof down the street? Let's say he already goes to church and is saved so there is no advantage to us there, he has enough to take care of his family, has actually a little more stuff than you (although how, 'cause he is so doofy you can't imagine him in the work place?) so he doesn't need you, he doesn't have a lack of friends but he isn't fun to be around at all. Are you getting my picture? There is nothing attractive about this fellow, you can't really help him, he is obnoxious and can't really help you or entertain you, so do you really want to befriend him?
And you question my question about God wanting us? We are worse than the doof down the street, at least the doof down the street would welcome us with open arms if we went down to one of his barbecues.
But that's all I wanted to say about that, that was actually a digression, what I really was pondering this a.m. is, are we the rich young man? Well, except for the buckets of money, gold bling all through the palace, cared for by the army of servants, are we the rich young man? Do we have his attitude? No, I don't mean before we "became Christians," I mean right now. Are we playing the rich young man?
God is calling us to give it all up. This is the season of giving it up, being last. If we gave up all our worldly stuff would we turn around and expect God to put us at the head of the class? "Ooohhh look everyone, Herbert just gave everything up for me, he just wants to serve, so here he goes up on the pedestal, up on the altar to be admired and praised by all of you." This is what we want God to say. If we are honest.
We read the rich young man, and we think, "heck ya I can give it all up if that is what he is asking of me."
We read the rich young man, and we think, "heck ya, I can give it up, after all Job lost everything and he got it all back in the end." Oh ya, right, we don't think that one out loud even to our own brain.
God is asking us to give it all up. More than just the stuff that we really wouldn't mind too much to give up because in the long run it will be good for us. Ah, what am I willing to give up? Stuff, that if I give it up, I'll be skinny (maybe) or less burdened with taking care of stuff.
Books on self denial end up telling us, with a huge list of "but this is the greater benefit to you" items, that whole self denial thing is so pretty, so advantageous in the long run. Ya, we get God, but really this is what we will get also and the also is very very good.
The implication that we all see, is that if the rich young man gave up all his stuff like Jesus asked and picked up his cross, he would have been hanging out with Jesus every day all day, How cool would that be, hanging with Jesus! Wearing sandals, carrying crosses, eating bread from big crusty loaves, getting skinny, growing a beard (for some), learning cool stuff to say to everybody. How cool is that?!!
But what if God called you and you didn't get to hang out with Him all day? What if God called you to something and you become nothing from it, absolutely nothing, no martyrdom, no mission to dreaded Africa, no prayer warrior status, no prophetic mantle. What if you got nothing like that, not to mention, you didn't get skinny, you didn't get a cute Christian family, you didn't get a place to live, you didn't get a cool church to go to worship with a great choir or worship team, with a famous or an obscure pastor, you didn't get a nice job among a bunch of heathens that you get to bring to the Lord? What if you get nothing?
Do you still count it joy to give it all to Him? Does our joy come from Him or all His byproducts?
To be continued....