ENCOUNTER
Pioneers and Paul (not the Apostle)
by Chris on May 20th, 2013


My friend, Paul Johnson, guest blogger/licensed therapist/decent conversationalist, said to me, "Pioneers get to hold on to nothing tightly."  It was a great moment in a great conversation over a decent bagel.

Paul and his family had come home recently and had a knock on the door (after 9pm so Paul had to go answer it even though he was as nervous about it as his wife.)  The neighbor at the door asked if the family was ok.  The family had been out at the ball park that day, but nothing happened to warrant the concern in the neighbor's voice.  Then Paul found out that his house nearly burned down earlier.  His grill had been left on, burned a crater in his deck, and was caught just in time to keep it from spreading to the house, saved, thanks to a quick-thinking neighbor.  This was part of the conversation that lead to the thought above.  There was a lot more to it....personal stuff for both of us (that might eventually make it to a blog post).  But that's where it started.  We thought about all that could have been lost, material things, sentimental things, feelings of safety and security, even lives.  All things we (as pioneers in this land) might hold on to tightly.

And so that thought has been running through my head ever since (along with a .38 Special song, can you guess which one?).  Whatever I have, I can end up grasping too tightly.  Talents, relationships, things, ideas, outlets for creativity, my own life.  My broken places can push me to hold on to those things like they are really mine, instead of gifts for the journey. 

When we pioneer across the rough terrain, when we navigate through rough waters of this life, is when the temptation is to hold on the tightest.  The things we clamp down on then become idols for me, for us.  The things we "can't live without".  And I don't believe God takes them away so much as they just are crushed under that weight.

I ran across this thought today

"Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
— C.S. Lewis

The disciples did it with Jesus.  Or at least with their idea of Jesus.  He had to die and be given back afresh so they could see the real deal.  When I hold on tightly to "keep" something, I run the risk of losing that very thing.  Many times I need to lose it, like the disciples did with their idea of Jesus.  Sometimes, well, sometimes I lose things that I need because nothing makes a good god except for...well....God.

I want to hold on with a grip like golfer Sam Snead said about holding your club, "like you have a bird in your hand, " tight enough to keep it there but not crush it.  Because only the things that I've held loosely have I kept.

What about you?  Are you holding on tightly to something?  Is something crushing under the weight of being your source, your provision, your god?


Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Christian Life, Jesus, Spiritual Health, Spiritual Posture, Paul Johnson, Encounter Ministries, Pioneers, .38 Special, Conversation, Community


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