Tag Archives: offering

Holding On – Or Letting Go

By Bas Lammers from nieuw vennep, netherlands (Holding on to ….) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

What do I want to hold on to?

My way,
my things,
what is precious to me,
those things that I define myself by?

Or can I let go?
let parts of me die,
that need to be buried,
to bring new life
new hope,
new love?

True service
and sacrifice,
is not hanging on
to what I want

but letting go
and giving up

Not my will Lord,
but yours
in and through me

John 12:20-36 (CEV)

Some Greeks Want To Meet Jesus

20 Some Greeks had gone to Jerusalem to worship during Passover. 21 Philip from Bethsaida in Galilee was there too. So they went to him and said, “Sir, we would like to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew. Then the two of them went to Jesus and told him.

The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up

23 Jesus said:

The time has come for the Son of Man to be given his glory. 24 I tell you for certain that a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat. 25 If you love your life, you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life. 26 If you serve me, you must go with me. My servants will be with me wherever I am. If you serve me, my Father will honor you.

27 Now I am deeply troubled, and I don’t know what to say. But I must not ask my Father to keep me from this time of suffering. In fact, I came into the world to suffer. 28 So Father, bring glory to yourself.

A voice from heaven then said, “I have already brought glory to myself, and I will do it again!” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some of them thought it was thunder. Others thought an angel had spoken to Jesus.

30 Then Jesus told the crowd, “That voice spoke to help you, not me. 31 This world’s people are now being judged, and the ruler of this world is already being thrown out! 32 If I am lifted up above the earth, I will make everyone want to come to me.” 33 Jesus was talking about the way he would be put to death.

34 The crowd said to Jesus, “The Scriptures teach that the Messiah will live forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”

35 Jesus answered, “The light will be with you for only a little longer. Walk in the light while you can. Then you won’t be caught walking blindly in the dark.36 Have faith in the light while it is with you, and you will be children of the light.”

The People Refuse To Have Faith in Jesus

After Jesus had said these things, he left and went into hiding.

Giving Your All

It was all that I had,
my most prized possession,
beautiful,
expensive,
such a heady aroma,
filling the air.

I’d been saving it
for a special occasion,
the right moment,
worthy of it’s enormity.

Now,
now is the time.
the time
to offer it,
to pour it out.
Not carefully
and gently,
but with great abondon,
without counting the cost.

Now is the time of offering,
of giving your all,
what is valued most.
Of letting go,
surrendering,
giving
without cost.

He is about to do that for me,
the least I can do,
is give my all to him.

John 12:1-11 (CEV)

At Bethany

12 Six days before Passover Jesus went back to Bethany, where he had raised Lazarus from death. A meal had been prepared for Jesus. Martha was doing the serving, and Lazarus himself was there.

Mary took a very expensive bottle of perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet. She wiped them with her hair, and the sweet smell of the perfume filled the house.

A disciple named Judas Iscariot was there. He was the one who was going to betray Jesus, and he asked, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor?” Judas did not really care about the poor. He asked this because he carried the moneybag and sometimes would steal from it.

Jesus replied, “Leave her alone! She has kept this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have me.”

A Plot To Kill Lazarus

A lot of people came when they heard that Jesus was there. They also wanted to see Lazarus, because Jesus had raised him from death. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus. 11 He was the reason that many of the Jewish leaders were turning from them and putting their faith in Jesus.

Use It or Lose It

You’re asked to look after something, what do you do?  Use it?  Or keep it very carefully?

Matthew 25:14-30 (CEV)

A Story about Three Servants

14 The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned. 15 The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country.

16 As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more.17 The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18 But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master’s money in the ground.

19 Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. 20 The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, “Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more.”

21 “Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”

22 Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, “Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more.”

23 “Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”

24 The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, “Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don’t plant and gather crops where you haven’t scattered seed. 25 I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin!”

26 The master of the servant told him, “You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don’t plant and gather crops where I haven’t scattered seed.27 You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it.”

28 Then the master said, “Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins!29 Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don’t have anything. 30 You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.”

I have a lot of sympathy for the third man.  What a sensible thing to do.  He didn’t want to lose his masters money, so he kept it safe.  We wouldn’t be applauding the other two if they had risked his money and lost it.  But there is no suggestion of that.  Just that they took what they had been given and used it for good.  Yet it seems really harsh to castigate someone for keeping something safe until it’s owner returns.

There are two lessons this parable can teach us (well probably many more, but two will do for today!)

(i) what we are given is not for our own sole use, it is to enrich the community around us.  This works with money, possessions, talents, gifts and graces – they are all to share, not to be hidden away.  Who knows how what we can do could help those around us.  Or we can sit at home protecting it; afraid to use it unless it gets lost, broken or all used up; keeping it to ourselves.

God has given us what we have.  He has done so anticipating that we use it.  And if this passage is to be believed, the better we use it, the more we will receive.

(ii)  This passage tells us it is about the Kingdom.  It can be all very nice and cosy to hold tightly to what we have been given.  To enjoy the feeling of knowing God, worshipping him and delighting in all he has given us.

BUT such things are only any real good if we pass on what we have discovered.  If we share with others all that God has given to us, that they can enjoy it too.  That is what true faith is about.  It is not something to be hidden away, but to be used.

By Andrey Mironov (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
So, as we ponder what we have been given, may we think well on what we do with it, how we use it – that we may be a good and faithful servant.

Thank you Lord
for all you give to me.

May I be faithful in using it,
for your kingdom
and for the world.