All of me
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Peter said to him, We have left everything to follow you!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields - and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
Jesus is not in the business of taking things away, rather he adds. Jesus focuses on the increase that comes naturally to us as we discover our place in God's world. When I begin to feel deprived or pulled toward something that seems better than my life with Christ, Jesus reminds me to think like he does.
Mardi Gras, this fine Fat Tuesday, is all about excess. And Jesus says that even this excess is not enough for us. We should have a hundredfold of whatever it is we value. All God requires is for me to leave what I set aside for myself and follow him. I cannot claim anything ... then I will receive everything.
Here is the tension we are called to embrace during Lent as children of God. My insecurity and selfishness can give way in submission to my Father. "Do not be afraid," he tells me. "I hold all you need in the palm of my hand. I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I will rescue you from the deep on the day of your disaster. I delight in you."
So I cover my head with ashes, and turn away from what is good to seek what is better ... what is best. God's touch reaches deep within me. He finds the place that was never satisfied and gives me rest. He gives me all I need.
Lord, your words are nectar when I drink them down. Open me in your power, and show me this freedom that you promise. Give me great doses of your joy.