by Steph Beth Nickel
This post was first written for Stephanie’s “Hunting Treasure” series of devotionals, which can be read (and heard) at HopeStreamRadio.
Do you have things or do things have you?
My mother-in-law was a perfect example of the former but definitely not the latter. After moving into a nursing home and before selling the house that had been her home for decades, Dave’s mom took one last look around.
My mother-in-law’s observation? “There’s nothing here for me anymore.”
Many people place great sentimental value on material possessions, even those not worth much monetarily. But not Dave’s mom.
Oh to hold things with such an open-handed grasp!
We’re in the process of decluttering our home, getting rid of those things we’re not using. The progress is slow going, but it’s very rewarding. We’re making room not only in our home but also in our heart and mind.
However, I have a not-so-secret stash. You won’t find it in the spare room or the basement, not even on my bookshelves. But if you knew where to look in cyberspace, you would be amazed—but not necessarily in a good way.
There is no way one person can possibly get through all the online course material I have stored up … at least not if that person wants to actually implement any of what she’s learning. I’m an e-course addict.
And what does the virtual weight of all these courses do to me?
It preoccupies my thoughts. It distracts me from my already overflowing To Do list. And, worst of all, it keeps me from focusing on that heavenly treasure I very much desire to store up. The treasure mentioned in Matthew 6:19-21.What are you clutching?
Money? Possessions? Reputation? Career? Relationships?
When my kids were little, we watched a Berenstain Bear video over and over and over. The one thing that has stuck with me over all these years is the song Sister Bear sang, “I Want It All.”
And although there are many things I’m quite content to do without, I am still eager to jump at almost every opportunity that sounds interesting. And even though I know I can never complete all the online courses—or read all those books on my aforementioned bookshelves—I’m still far too tight-fisted.
In a way, I want it all. How about you?
I can’t help but think of Jesus’s disciples.
In Matthew 4:18-19, we read that the Lord commanded Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, two fishermen, to follow Him, promising to make them fishers of men.
In verse 20, it says, “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (ESV*). (emphasis mine)
In the next verse, we read that Jesus also called James and John to follow Him.
Their response is recorded in verse 22. “Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him” (ESV). Note the word immediately in this verse as well.
In Mark 2, Jesus came upon a tax collector named Levi. In verse 14 we read that Jesus simply said, “Follow me” (ESV).
And without apparent hesitation, Levi “rose and followed him” (ESV).
These men and others didn’t cling to their careers, what was familiar, their apparent source of security. Instead, they left it all behind to follow One they barely knew.
The things I cling to seem silly in light of the disciples’ example.
Maybe it’s time for some treasured release.
How about you? Are there things holding you back from following the Lord and His teachings as revealed in the Scriptures? Are you willing to leave them behind? Are you at least willing to be made willing?
Does this mean He wants you to turn your back on your job, your material possessions, your online courses? Not necessarily.
But if we’re so busy storing up treasure on Earth, we just may be missing out on what’s most important.
What are you clinging to? (click to tweet this)
Do you have things or do they have you? (click to tweet this)
Hold things with open hands. (click to tweet this)
*English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.
Great insight here Stephanie. My grip needs to lighten on many things of this world, thanks for the reminder!
Me too, Jill. Stephanie always has good insights for us 🙂
A wise speaker once said, when he was asked to speak, he simply considered what God was teaching him at the time, believing others likely needed to learn the same lessons.
I’m always writing to myself first, Jill. 🙂
I love the way you emphasized “immediately.” I’ve often thought about the way the disciples heard Jesus’ voice and acted on what He said. I can almost picture the love on His face and hear the empathy in His voice!
This is beautiful, Marlene. Thank you for helping us imagine this scene.
I’m not big on keeping “stuff” in my house, but boy can I relate to having too many online courses! I don’t know if I could ever finish all of them, but I definitely need to stop collecting more!
Collecting is so insidious! I’m not tempted by courses, but oh, those ebooks!
Both my virtual and my physical bookshelves are bowing under the weight, Janet. Oh my!
I’m currently seeking to work my way through the Amplify Summit at Blogging Your Passion. But I have so many other online resources, I’ll probably never find them all again. Sigh!