Week 6 Monday

Holding Nothing Back

Today’s scripture selection: Genesis 20-23

Key verse: Genesis 22:12

 

     Some stories in the Bible really bother me.  That may sound funny, coming from a preacher, but that’s just the case.  While the scriptures are filled with wonderful tales that can be happily be shared at bedtime with our little ones; it’s also chock full of other things.  There is war and human sacrifice and famine and evil and a thousand other things we might rather not think about.

     There’s even a story about how one day God asked a faithful man to kill his own son, just to prove his faithfulness.  Now that’s not a very comforting bedtime story.  But there it is – the story of Abraham and his beloved son Isaac.

     Of course, the story doesn’t end with the sacrifice being carried out as ordered.  Thankfully for us, and all involved, the scripture tells us it was really just a test – a test of faith.  Now, I’m still not very comfortable that either – on the surface, it seems rather cruel of God to test his faithful servant in such a harsh way.

     But then, I stop to think about it.  And I realize the lesson there really is worth taking to heart.  In fact, it may just be the most important truth we can take from the Bible.

     God loves us deeply – and he holds nothing back from us – in that love.  The whole point of the gospel is that God gave the world “his only begotten Son” to save us.  Through the years there have been many arguments about exactly how that took place.  But the “why” has always been understood.  It’s because God “so loves the world” that He holds nothing back when it comes to expressing that love.

     So now, here’s this little story about what God wants from us.  He calls us to also be willing to put it all on the table.  Everything we cherish; everything we desire; everything we believe we need – we are to be willing, if necessary, to give it up to God.  Just like Abraham, we are called to give it all to God – no matter what – no questions asked.

It’s a tough lesson to learn.  And to really do it demands great courage and faith.  But if we do – if we hold nothing back from God – somehow, miraculously God provides.  And we find that what we have in return is more wonderful and meaningful than we could have imagined.  We might even find, like Abraham, that just because we are willing to give something up – we need not actually give it up.  Instead, we get to keep the thing or one we love – and receive blessing as well.

Hold nothing back.  God is faithful.  He’ll provide.  He always does.

Prayer: Father, help me to have enough faith to give you all I have and all I am.  AMEN.

 

 

    

AMEN.

 

 

 

      

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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