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Giving Up by Jason Edwards

This week I’m studying Jesus’ call of the brothers Zebedee James, and John. We often think of these men as poor fishermen, but in their call story, they leave their father and the hired men in their boat to follow Jesus. This simple line lets us know that they were not the hired men. They hired the men. This was their father’s boat, their family boat. They may not have been wealthy, but they did have a family fishing business. It had probably been a means of support for their family for generations. The business belonged to their dad. One day, if they stayed with it, it would belong to them, to their children, eventually to their children’s children. This business was significant to their family, which means it was a significant thing to give up. And that’s just what they did. They gave it up as a way of giving themselves to God.

During Lent, we often give things up. We fast, not only from certain foods but from certain activities either because we believe the act of fasting will better prepare us for Easter or because the thing we’re fasting from sometimes hinders our commitment to Christ-likeness. We give things up in order to give ourselves to God.

Does it work? To some degree. God is at work within us, so anytime we work with God we can trust in some measure of progress. The measure we give will be the measure we get, so says the Teacher. (Luke 6:38) And that’s just what I’m wondering about today.

The sermon this week will likely say something about John the ambitious and aggressive becoming John the beloved, Apostle of love. That didn’t happen the moment he and his brother stepped out of their father’s boat. For them, giving up their livelihood was just the beginning. The cost of their discipleship would be much more significant. Eventually, it would take everything. Their vocation, their security, their purpose; all they ever knew. This would be replaced with vocation, security, purpose and an uncommon, ever-growing depth of new, sacred knowing. They gave themselves up to God, and slowly, God gave them their true selves.

There’s something significant you’re hanging onto. Or perhaps it’s hanging onto you. Its grip is tighter than chocolate, coffee or social media. It’s wound up into your very being. An ambition or an idea? A perspective or a prejudice? An expectation or a deep-rooted sense of entitlement? Or perhaps something else. Something significant.

What is it the Spirit of God is calling you to give up now so that you can become more of your true self in Christ?


Posted by Jason Edwards at 6:00 AM