When We’re Called to Let Go

He had it all. Every comfort you could imagine. The best of Egypt at his fingertips. The latest technology, the fastest chariots, the choicest of fruits, servants, wealth, prestige, power, fame. He said it and it was done. He asked for it and it was delivered.

Devotional Scripture: Acts 7:17-29; Hebrews 11:23-27
Key Verse: “He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” Hebrews 11:26

401 Easy Street, is where Moses resided. In the shimmering, cool, palace of an elite world power. Adopted as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter it’s even possible he was next in line for the throne.

Yet Hebrews 11:24 tells us he refused it. He “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:24-25). Considering “the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward” (Heb. 11:26).

Counting the luxuries he’d been handed as nothing, he exchanged the palace for a tent, riches for a relationship, honor for dishonor, affluence for affliction, ample amenities for very few, the royal robes of Egypt for a shepherd’s coat

Would you have done it? Would you have left the lap of luxury for a seat at the commoner’s table? I don’t know if I would have. In all honesty, I’ve stumbled through the text this week for fear of what lies on the other side. What sacrifice I might be called to make.

Because the truth is, I like my comforts and conveniences. Don’t you? Nestled amid the amenities of the palace I know the conversation I would have been having with Jesus. “LORD, please, can’t I just serve you from here? I have money for the poor. I have power. I have influence. I’ll use them for your glory. I promise.” There’s no doubt in my mind I would have hung on.

But Moses didn’t. Considering the reward much greater than the cost, he gave it all up. And he did so by faith. (Hebrews 11:24 – The same way we’re to do it.) Taught by his parents, grandparents, siblings, or maybe God himself, Moses took God at his word and believed it.

You know who else exchanged affluence for affliction? Jesus. “Who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:6-7).

Humbling himself he exchanged the throne for a stable, the royal robes of heaven for some simple swaddling, the brilliance of glory for no form of majesty, the table of heaven for a seat with commoners, the praise of angels for the rejection of men, a crown of splendor for that of thorns, fellowship with God for the wrath of sin. Obedient to the point of death, that we might live.

How’d he do it? Much the same as Moses. He looked ahead. He looked to God. He looked to heaven. Enduring the cross “for the joy that was set before him” (Heb. 12:2).

Handing the hope of heaven to us who can’t get there. Weaving grace into the fabric of human hearts. Offering peace and reconciliation to a people apart from God. Giving us who come with nothing of eternal value, every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. (Eph. 1:3) And an inheritance we can’t even fathom.

“But as it is written in the Scriptures: “No one has ever seen this. No one has ever heard about it. No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (Is. 64:4, ICB).

It’s too great. Too wonderful for us to wrap around. Take beauty and go a step further. Take marvelous and magnify it. Take superb and marry it to delightful and you’ve got a small piece of our future in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, we can let go. We can sacrifice. Whether it simply be time or money or the life we thought we wanted. The way we thought things would be. The dream we felt sure we needed. The career. The plan. Or the life of ease and convenience we’ve grown comfortable in.

We can humble ourselves. We can be obedient to the call of God, even if it means running in a direction the world never would. Keeping before us the reproach of Christ, because the reward is far greater than the cost. The Savior far greater than the sacrifice.

Moses gave up much to gain more. And because of his willingness he experienced an intimacy with Christ so spectacular his face radiated with God’s glory. (I want that.)

But it took time. And a path he never expected. Are you willing? If and when God calls us to let go, let’s do so in faith my friend, for the riches of our King are far greater than that of this kingdom. And the surpassing worth of experiencing Christ a treasure like none other.

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:7).

In obedience we gain immeasurably more than we could ever lose. Be faithful my friend, be faithful.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Have you been busy counting the cost or the reward? I often get caught up in the cost. What is God calling you to let go of today? Are you willing?


The First Step to Reconciliation

Compassion is not my natural bent. Nine times out of ten I’d rather just tell you – or I mean everyone besides you – to get over it. I know, heartless. Ironically I have a psychology degree. Maybe there’s good reason God interrupted my plan to become a marriage and family counselor. (And a flight attendant. That was my other idea. “I’m sorry sir but we cannot land this plane if your seat is back those two inches. So just get over it.”)

Devotional Scripture: Genesis 43:1 – 44:34
Key Verse: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

But over the years I’ve definitely seen my heart soften. As I’ve cried alongside desperately hurting friends, felt the weight of my own bad choices, and stood at the graveside of caskets far too small. To the point in which just this morning while eating my eggs I had to hide the tears that threatened as I read the broken words of a woman who lost her mother at just eighteen.

Her pain echoed through me in a way that made me so very thankful to be watering the flowers on my front porch, meeting the incessant demands of my children, and wading through a sink full of dirty dishes.

It gave me a good dose of perspective – as did over twenty years of unending guilt for Joseph’s brothers. Locked in a jail cell the betrayal of Joseph was the first thing that came to their minds (42:21). It had not left them. It had shaped them. But Joseph needed to know how. Did they feel remorse for what they’d done? Had they changed for the better? So he put them through a series of tests.

First he kept one brother back. Would they come back for him? And would they bring Benjamin? They did. But did they hate Benjamin as they hated him? Would they abandon Benjamin as they did him?

When they returned Joseph invited them into his home. He seated them by birth order. Then heaped five times as much food on Benjamin’s plate. Did they care? Nope. Apparently they didn’t. But the true test was yet to come.

Joseph had his cup, his silver cup, placed in the mouth of Benjamin’s sack. Then sent his steward after them. “What have you done? Why did you take my lord’s special cup?” But they were indignant. “What are you talking about? We didn’t take his special cup!” (obviously my paraphrase)

So certain of their innocence they put their lives on the line. “Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants” (44:9). And lone behold there it was in Benjamin’s sack.

They tore their clothes. What on earth? But how? Why? Then together returned to the city. Every last one of them. And offered themselves as Joseph’s servants. But Joseph refused, “No no no, I’ll just take the little one. He’s the one who had the cup.” (more of my paraphrase)

How Joseph held it together as his brothers groveled before him, I have not the slightest idea. But he had done it. He had created an opportunity for his brothers to betray Benjamin, just as they had him. Only this time the stakes were higher. In exchange for Benjamin he offered each of them their freedom. Tempting, very very tempting.

But they wouldn’t do it again. Not now. Not ever. It would kill their father. I think it’s safe to say God their hearts had been softened. Besides, Judah had made a promise to return Benjamin and he intended to keep it. So he offered his own life in exchange for Isaac’s favorite boy. The kind of quality one might expect from the tribe of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.

There was no jealousy. No strife. No teetering back and forth as to what to do. Just selfless determination that allowed them to gather on the highly coveted edge of reconciliation.

Something you may long for or hope for or dream of in this vast world of broken relationships. But how did it happen for them? How did they get to the point wherein love and honesty and grace and mercy were about to burst forth with no restraint?

They let go. All of them. Joseph of any and all bitterness, anger, hate, or revenge. The brothers of all jealousy and envy, and deception. They let go of hurt feelings and grudges. They let go of pride and selfish ambition. And they let go of control. A big one for Jacob.

With little option remaining, Jacob surrendered. “So be it,” he said. And “May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man” But as for me…“If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved” (43:14). He let go. And he let God.

When God calls us to let go of something – be it a loved one, a dream, a plan, a life of guilt or anxiety or favoritism, a seed of bitterness or an all encompassing envy, a feeling of control, a long standing lie, or an ever-present wish – it might be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do. But if it’s the right thing; if it’s God asking you to do it; if it means deliverance or blessing or freedom or reconciliation, then it’s absolutely worth it. And possible through Him who gives us strength (Phil. 4:13).

Little did Jacob realize his boy, his long lost boy, was that dreaded man. And that letting go would bring the most beautiful of blessings into his life. And little did his sons realize the breaking would bring about the best kind of remaking. And the admitting the most brilliant forgiving.

My friend is there something you need to let go of today? Something you’ve long held onto because it’s too scary or too hard or too shameful to admit? Today I pray you find the courage to surrender. To be real. To be honest. Because on the other side just might be the most beautiful of blessings, a reconciliation you didn’t think possible, a remaking you never saw coming, or a forgiving you never thought you’d get to experience.  

Contemplate and Evaluate:
When have you let go and saw God’s gracious hand work things out for the better?
What do you need to let go of today? A wish, a dream, a thought of envy or seed of bitterness? Ask the LORD to give you the strength (Phil. 4:13). And remember His mercies are new every morning.

(Photo credit: Pixabay)