The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 8/26

Posted on | August 26, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 8/26

AUGUST 26
scripture reading: Luke 12:13–21

Monkey Business

Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)

In some remote areas of our world where monkeys are eaten as food, tribal hunters have developed a technique that is both simple and effective. Drilling a hole in a dried coconut just large enough for a monkey hand to slip through, the hunter drops a generous portion of peanuts inside the hollow shell. The coconut is then tied to a tree with wire as the hunter hides nearby and waits. A monkey will smell the peanuts, approach the coconut, and eventually slip his hand through the opening. Grabbing a handful of peanuts, he will discover that his clenched fist is now too big to pull back through the hole. He is trapped! As the hunter emerges with club in hand, the monkey, suddenly aware his plight, screams in terror and pulls with all his might to extract his hand from the coconut. But because he refuses to let go of the peanuts, he becomes, literally, dead meat.

When God warns against covetousness and greed, he is urging us to let go of the “peanuts” in our lives. The problem is not so much what we are clutching as that we are clutching! The issue is our inability to let go. And the result is that we become caught in a trap of our own creation. Whether we are talking about worldly possessions, salaries and benefits, titles and positions, relationships, reputation, or even ministry—when we grasp things tightly as if we were entitled to them, we soon discover that we are stuck and in mortal spiritual danger. Though we may realize our perilous condition, we often continue to keep our fists clinched in the misguided belief that these “peanuts” are the key to our happiness and security. Like the foolish monkey, we kick and scream over our circumstances yet refuse to do the one thing that would make a difference: let go.

Demas was once a respected member of the apostolic community (Philemon 24; Colossians 4:14). Along with Epaphras, Aristarchus, and Luke, he was destined to be remembered as one of the companions of Paul and a hero of the early church. But Demas became caught in a trap of his own making. He abandoned his calling because he was “in love with this present world” (II Tim. 4:10). Like a dumb little monkey, he clung to his “peanuts” and lost his soul. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? (Matthew 16:26).

Even Jesus had to release his “grasp” on his divine status and equality with God so that he could be free to follow the path set before him (Philippians 2:6–7). What was true for him is true for you and for me. It is only as we trust God enough to let go of the “peanuts” in our lives that we discover the freedom to be and do all that we were created to be and do. So let me encourage you today, dear friend, to release your grip on the things of this world and open your hands with palms upturned to God. When you do, you will discover a freedom like you have never known before. And you will also discover that your new posture (open, upturned hands) makes it possible for God to pour into your life the blessings he longs to give you!

[Repentance] is not something God demands of you before he will take you back and which he could let you off if he chose: it is simply a description of what going back to him is like.
—C. S. Lewis

point to ponder • The problem is not so much what you are clutching as that you are clutching. Where do you need to let go?

prayer focus • For help today regarding any “peanuts” you are clutching.

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