Two stark contrasts placed back to back. One an example of complete, unhindered trust and the other of self-reliance.
Parents, do you remember what it was like when your kids were young? When they followed you around everywhere and valued whatever you said? And when life became frightening, they ran to you for comfort and affection.
Little ones don’t worry about where they’ll go tomorrow or whether they’ll have enough to eat or drink. They simply proceed with their day, laughing, playing, perhaps throwing a fit on occasion, but for the most part, enjoying life.
They come with empty but open hands. And 2,000+ years ago, when they were brought to Jesus, He said, in essence, “Take notice. Watch these little ones and learn. This is the kind of faith that pleases Me.”
And then “He took the children in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them” (Mark 13:15-16), and then He sent them away with peace and joy.
They came empty handed, humble, expectant, and left blessed.
Some time later, a rich young man came to Jesus with pockets full but heart depleted. Upon seeing the Christ, something within him sparked, and he soon broke out into a run. Kneeling before the Savior, he asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
What was the cost? Donate ten denarii to the poor? He’d do it! Say a certain number of prayers each day? No problem. Serve in the temple or in his community? Whatever it was, whatever Jesus asked, he was ready!
Until Jesus required the one thing the man wasn’t willing to give—his money. Upon first glance, it appears Jesus was calling him out for his wealth, calling him to a life of financial martyrdom. But that’s not the case. This went much deeper. Jesus was touching him at his core, asking him to surrender what he’d come to rely on most—himself.
To come humble, teachable, trusting, and with empty but open hands. Trading that which he held so tightly for something of much greater value—freedom.
The man decided that price was too high, and so, he walked away with full hands and an empty heart.
I don’t have great wealth, but I have plenty of self-reliance. So often, like the rich young man, I come to Jesus, longing to experience deeper freedom, while holding tight to the very things, like my agenda or well-thought-out plans, that keep me from it. But if I want the joy and peace of a child, I need to learn to come to Jesus as those little ones from so long ago did—with empty but open hands, relinquishing those things I’ve come to rely on. To gain something much greater--intimacy with Christ.
Trusting God to lead me, to provide for me.
To fill me.
Want to receive more encouragement to walk with Jesus? Pop on over to Wholly Loved's site to watch a short video devotion on choosing to endure through the hard--for a glorious, divinely orchestrated outcome. You can watch there HERE. And make sure to sign up for my free quarterly newsletter to receive great content, sent directly to your inbox. You can sign up HERE.
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