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?


My Exceedingly Great Reward

Devotional: Genesis 15:1-5
Key Verse: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” Genesis 15:1

What had he done! Oh the mess he had made. Defeating four kings of the east meant Abram now had four enemies in the east. Humiliated, would they retaliate? What of Sarai? What of the servants, the men, their families? Had he endangered them all?

Obviously we don’t know what Abram’s thoughts were. But isn’t that the way it works? A small fear creeps into the far corner of our minds. We let it take root. Water it with all kinds of “what if” scenarios until it wraps itself around every thread of truth; dismantling our confidence; overriding any desire to press forth. Encouraging us to just give up; wave a little white flag of surrender; and hide. Or hyperventilate. Or eat chocolate. Or buy something new and pretty and distracting. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

All the while God remains patient; faithful. Abram must have been experiencing at least some fear on the heels of his great victory or God wouldn’t have said “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield” (Gen. 15:1). How truly marvelous to have God as one’s shield. Maybe for Abram you might say but God’s not been any sort of shield for me. Oh but he has dear friends. He has. In Christ you are forever shielded from hell. Forever shielded from God’s wrath. Shielded from an eternity of pain and suffering. Shielded from the daily accusations of the evil one. Absolutely Jesus is your shield; your mighty shield. “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Ps. 3:3).

But just as God did not shield Jesus from pain and suffering neither will he shield us. Maybe sometimes. But suffering “produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Rom. 5:4) making us more like Christ. Drawing us to him. Giving us opportunity to showcase his faithfulness and bring him glory.

So we remain strong; steadfast; believing he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Abram had given up the spoils of war for God’s glory and the sacrifice had not gone unnoticed. No sacrifice we give to God goes unnoticed (Luke 12:6-7). God assured Abram “your reward shall be very great.” But I love how the New King James Bible states it, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” God himself was Abram’s reward! His exceedingly great reward!

God himself – our reward! The greatest reward. Nothing else could compare! Nothing! Yet so often we want something else. Sometimes so desperately we’d do anything for it. But what if Jesus were the one thing I desired most? What if he were the absolute longing of my heart? What sort of contentment and joy and wonderment might I find if I sought Jesus as my greatest reward?

Daily my greatest reward. Daily my ambition; my motive; my passion. I think alas I would know him as my shield. We wonder – where are you God? Where are you in this mess? But could it be we see him not because we think on him not. Consumed by the worries of today and tomorrow. Consumed by my wants and desires. My ever increasing wish list. I soon forget whom it is that truly satisfies. I soon forget what is truly my reward. If only I could stay my mind on Him, what a shield I would have. What a shield! Against temptation. Against fear. Against jealousy, discontentment, and sadness. Against every flaming dart sent to disarm my faith. For truly he is the reward!

Yet we have strong desires. Desires that just don’t seem to go away. Sometimes of our own making…sometimes God given. For Abram it was a son. A child – of his very own. Year upon year passed and still no heir. I cannot imagine the ache; the disappointment. Abram had been promised a nation would come from him. Through him would come blessing to every family of the world. He remembered the words spoken to him. No doubt he remembered the words. But still…no child.

So he asked. (God wants us to bring our requests before him.) “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless?” (Gen. 15:2) And God answered piling grace upon grace, “your very own son shall be your heir...number the stars, if you are able to number them…So shall your offspring be” (Gen. 15:4-5). What a gracious God we serve! “Don’t worry Abram I am your exceedingly great reward!” But Lord I want a son? But Lord I want______(fill in the blank). How often I fill in the blank! How often I unknowingly tell God he’s not enough for me. Yet he chides me not. Instead he listens. And if I’m listening reassures me of his sovereignty. Just as he reassured Abram, “You will have a son and much much more.” What grace! What beautiful grace!

He loves us friends. He really does. Bring your requests. Brings your desires. Bring your aches and burdens. Bring them to the Lord. And leave them…there…amid his sovereignty. Believing. Trusting he will do what’s best for you. Because he will. He always will. He proved that at calvary with every nail; every beating; every scar; every thorn; every excruciating hour…for you…for me. So that he could be our exceedingly great reward!

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Do you think of God as your reward?
What today do you need to leave at his throne? What desire, what ache, what burden do you need to give him so that he can be your reward?image