There are many types of monkey that can be captured with nothing more than a hollow wooden ball and a few shiny stones. The wooden ball contains a hole just large enough for the open hand of the monkey to pass through. The shiny stones are placed inside the ball and the ball is then tied to a tree.
The curious monkey reaches into the hollow ball and grasps the stones but then finds his hand will no longer pass through the hole while he clings to his prize. The monkey fights to free his hand but will not drop the stones and is therefore easily captured.
This is a fun story – but I’m not sure it’s true. Monkeys are probably much smarter than this illustration makes them appear. But I wonder how many of us are being trapped by similar tactics.
Jesus had chosen His twelve disciples and was giving them instructions as He sent them out to minister. He told them where to go and some of the hardships to expect. He also told them one of the great secrets of a successful journey.
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
Another translation of this same verse reads: “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for Me, you will find it.” This is a truth the world doesn’t want us to hear! The only way to find the freedom of true life is to let go and give God our complete trust.
We are saved only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8); but a saving faith must be a faith in the complete Jesus, all He is and all He represents! He came as our Savior, the Lamb who was sacrificed for the forgiveness of our sin. But He also came as the Son of God, our Sovereign Lord. A saving faith cannot pick and choose what portion of Jesus to accept; we either let go and give Him our complete trust or we show we have rejected Him as we cling to self-control.
The world is packed full of “trappings” which lure us and keep us from surrendering to Jesus as Lord. We are continually enticed to follow “The Road to Happiness” with promises of pleasure and power; but if we look closely we will see nothing but a handful of worthless stones which keep us from true freedom.
We can no longer cling to the empty values of the world; we must let go and present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). If we want to find the freedom of true life, we must have a faith which allows us to lose our life to the will of our Lord – we must be willing to let go of our shiny stones.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Sep 4 Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:18; 2 Corinthians 7:8-16; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 22:17-19
Sep 5 Ecclesiastes 10:1-12:14; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; Psalm 49:1-20; Proverbs 22:20-21