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Possessed by Our Possessions…

I’m doing something a little different for tonight’s reflection – I’m giving you the full Day 6 devotion straight from 40 Days Lighter. I’ve been in alternating periods of tears all day, as God has been giving me glimpses of what He intends to do in, through and with my life in the coming seasons and years, and the tears continue to fall even as I write this right now.

Leading up to this moment, I have received prophetic word after prophetic word about what God is calling me to release. These words of revelation and confirmation came on the heels of a season where I was sure that my failures had disqualified me. I was sure that I had missed my moment, that I had missed out on what God wanted to do with my life. I was sure that it was too late, and like the prodigal son, I would simply settle for being a servant, rather than a daughter (even though I literally have it tattooed into my left wrist as a reminder that I am GOD’s daughter, no matter what life and my own insecurities try to tell me).

Whew.

In an effort to stem the flow of tears, I will simply share this, and then allow you to jump into tonight’s devotion –

This is a season of release:

So here you go. On me, here is:


Day 6 – “Possessed by Our Possessions”

“Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

Matthew 19:21-22 (NIV)

In Matthew 19, we are introduced to a wealthy young man, someone accustomed to having plenty, and likely not acquainted with much want. In Matthew 19:16, we find him asking Jesus what he needed to do to gain something else—in this case, eternal life. Jesus tells him to keep the commandments, naming them at the young man’s request. Yet somehow, despite acknowledging that he has kept the commandments, he asks the Great Teacher the most important question of his life: “What do I still lack?”

This man, who was likely unfamiliar with the idea of ‘doing without,’ was aware that in spite of his best efforts, something was still missing in his life. Unfortunately, we get a front row seat to a true tragedy—far more commonplace than we want to admit—when Jesus gives the man clear instructions to sell what he owns, give to the poor, and follow Him. Verse 22 tells us that the young man, hearing Jesus’s words, “went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Matthew 19:22, NIV). He recognized that there was something greater than his possessions to be gained – eternal life. He acknowledged that despite following the commandments, he was still missing something important. Yet when offered the process by which to obtain what he desired, he could not bear the thought of losing the wealth he already possessed, even though the value of eternal life outweighed it all.

We all reach points in our lives where we must make a choice: to hold on to who we have been or what we have done, or to change and do something different; to keep a tight grip on the money we have, or invest it in making a better life, for ourselves and for others. We must choose how we use our time, talents, and treasure. We decide what and how much we give of ourselves to others, or opt to seclude ourselves and our fortunes to lonely castles that fade and crumble with time.

This young man found himself possessed by his possessions, and owned by what he owned, instead of being the master he might have thought himself to be. To this man, his possessions and status were everything – though in the grand scheme of life, they were but a small sacrifice to make for something greater. He couldn’t not see or understand the eternal rate of return for such a seemingly significant investment.

In the absence of the balance of giving and receiving, obtaining and releasing, the flow in and the flow out – of money, people, resources, and even the air we breathe – we find ourselves woefully weighed down, heavy, unable to move forward, and ultimately suffocating to death. Moments of release open us up to new, greater possibilities for the days, months and years ahead. Only when a crop has been harvested, and the land has been cleared, can the ground be properly prepared to embrace a new growing season. God hasn’t made you a reservoir, but a channel of His grace, goodness and love, to reach the people around you.

Failure to release what we have been given to others, simultaneously closes us off from the possibility of receiving as well. If we tighten our hands into a fist, to maintain a tight grip on what we already possess, we strip ourselves of the ability to receive anything further into our hands. Rather than preserving our hold on our possessions, our belongings begin to have a hold on us.

We must learn to live life with our hearts and hands wide open, so that we can both give and receive, always with the possibility of obtaining something greater.

Reflect:

1. What resource, gift, talent or opportunity are you afraid to release to others? Why? What do you fear will happen when you share it?

2. Can you identify a time when your reluctance to release has hindered your ability to embrace new possibilities or opportunities?

3. In what areas will you commit to giving more of yourself, gifts, talents or resources?

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