Monday, April 30, 2012

Nothing left but Jesus...

For whatever reason, the word ‘risk’ keeps going through my mind lately.

Risk standing up for what you believe in- even when people think you are crazy.
Risk taking that first step- even if you don’t know where it will lead.
Risk giving your heart away- even if you know it will hurt.
Risk looking different, being different and living different- in a world where fitting in seems the right thing to do.

This morning when I was flipping through the pages in my bible the Lord brought me to this verse:

Matthew 25:24-25 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, “Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

In this verse there is an element of safety that I have to admit- I can relate to. Play it safe, stay comfortable, the world out there is a cruel place- you must protect yourself and come out on top.

And then I turned to the study notes and here it what it said:

“This man was thinking only of himself. He hoped to play it safe and protect himself from his hard master, but he was judged for his self-centeredness. We must not make excuses to avoid doing what God calls us to do. If God truly is our Master, we must obey willingly. Our time, abilities and money aren’t ours in the first place- we are caretakers, not owners.”

I am sure admitting to be self-centered is something that most of us are not going to want to do... so, just to bide my time, I looked up the definition of self -centered and this is what it said:

self-centered Adj.
1. self-centered - limited to or caring only about yourself and your own needs interested only in one's own affairs; selfish. She's too self-centred to take any interest in my troubles.

And so, I got honest with myself and honest with God... and I challenge you to do the same. Look back over the past week of your life… and then back over the past year. Who or what have you been living for? Now open your checkbook- what do the numbers show? Who or what has been in the #1 spot of your life?

For some of you, it will be the Lord… and I want to say thank you for that. Thank you for the example you are to me and to those around you. You have no idea how many people are watching- and how they are seeing Jesus on earth through your life. For others of us, we have some confessing to do- and it won’t be easy.

So often in my life I admit I have been the one standing, clinging to my bag. And, if I’m honest- it felt good to have ‘something I can cling to.' It felt good to fool myself into somehow thinking that I was safe if I did so. But that my friend is such a lie. It’s not who gets to the end with the most prizes- it’s who gets to the end and hears the words ‘well done, my good and faithful servant.

Yesterday we did home church as a family. As I was listening to David Platt he said these simple words that shook me to the core “It’s better to lose our life than to waste it.”

Did you catch that?

Did you really let it sink in?

If you are living solely for yourself- than your life is considered a waste.

It’s better to have a short existence here on earth and make your life count for His Kingdom- than to live to be 102 years old and have it have counted for nothing- but yourself. We, you and I, are responsible to use well what God has given us. The issue is not how much we have- but how well we use what we have been given.

If you haven’t already I challenge you to GIVE CHRIST your life. ALL of it. Every single tiny morsal of anything you have been holding tightly in the palm of your hand.

I don’t know what your ‘bag of crops’ looks like- but you do- and so does God. So go ahead and ask Him how you can turn what He has given you into something so much more- for His Kingdom.

I’ll end this with a few more wise words from David Platt that hit home with me. He said: “Christianity which cost nothing- produces the same." I don’t know about you, but one day when I stand before God I want to have used ALL that He has blessed me with for His glory. I don’t want to try to impress Him with my big house, pedicured nails, and vacation photos… only to hear Him say “I don’t know you." More than anything I want to be dirty, wrinkled, empty handed and exhausted knowing I used it all for His glory. 

                                                                       (photo credit)

Dear God, more than anything in this world I want my life to bring YOU glory. Forgive me for the times I have made it about me. Forgive me for the times I hesitated to trust you, the times I let fear stop me from living full and completely for you.Forgive me for the times I put pleasing man in front of pleasing you. Forgive me for the times when I saw a need and I had something to give- only I did not. Help me to release my bags and in joy give you ALL I have and all that I am. In Jesus name. Amen.
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Sara Bollinger said...

Your blog has been such a blessing to me since I "stumbled" upon it. I have found myself being challenged by the exact same things lately and am so encouraged to hear your words. Thank you!
You and your family will be in our prayers.

Jenay said...

Wow!!! Great post. Convicted. Thank you for "risking" it and posting such a great post. I must say though, your family is a beautiful example of "risk" and serving for His Glory. Keep it up.

The Sequin Singer said...

Risk is not such a risk when we know who holds us and where we are going! Great job Amy, you are challenging us all, through His Words!

Rachel Goode said...

Thanks, Amy. Powerful reminder

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...


meg said...

just been reading James 2 this morning which ties in well with what you're saying - it is scary to step out of ourselves & reach out to others but 'faith without works is dead' & 'by their fruit, they will be known'. i love your example at the end - I'd love to have the nice house & pedicured nails so its still a challenge to me - to put God & others before myself. thanks for sharing.

Lisa H. said...

The first quote by Platt was powerful! Wow!

Love to you!

Lisa H.

noneya said...

Oh precious Amy,
You have no idea how prophetic your post is today. Maybe I will have to shoot you an e-mail and explain. Thank YOU for the example you set for all of us. Do you falter sometimes? Yes. Do you want your way sometimes still? Yes. You are still human. But you have shown us all that at the end of the day its repentance and submission to our Lord for you. THANKS........Trina S.

We Are Family said...

Beautiful, humble post - thank you

Lyndsay said...

"Christianity that costs nothing produces the same"
I LOVE that! I know that some of the choices my family has made cost us something in the eyes of others. But to us, it is NOTHING in comparison to what has been PAID! And when you truly get that, how can we live any other way!?
Thank you!

Lorraine, AKA Forever Blessed said...

Amen, my friend, AMEN!!! This post reminds me of how much I sure have missed your blog posts. You always graciously challenge us with TRUTH. My favorite quote: "More than anything I want to be dirty, wrinkled, empty handed and exhausted knowing I used it all for His glory." LOVE that, and I pray that's how I'll enter His gates as well. I've got the exhausted and wrinkled part down. And often times dirty (with spit-up, poop, and the like :-), but I'm not near enough to the empty-handed description. LONG way to go to get there. Keep on day I'll get there! :-) Love you so much, Amy, and thank you for taking the time to write this post. I know you're beyond exhausted, always.

Unknown said...

Such an awesome post! Your family is a beautiful witness to so many and I pray God blesses you in mighty ways for your faithfulness to serving the least of these.

Created For His Glory said...

Amen! Spend me Lord ... I pour it all out at your feet :).

Ready to jump off that cliff again in surrender! It's scary and exhilarating all at the same time! :)

Lynette said...

I have been convicted lately on how much of our (meaning American) dollars are spent on being served. We pay people to serve us food, we pay people to scrub our feet and paint our toes, we pay people to clean our houses. I'm praying that the Lord will show me which areas I need to give up because I'm playing the rich master instead of the humble servant.

Rachel @DiscoverShareInspire said...

This is so beautifully written. I have been very inspired by you and your family since we first met.

Keep up the good work. And take that risk!

Tracy said...

Amen! Thank you!