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4 quotes from Richard Baxter: Conversing with God in Solitude

4 quotes from Richard Baxter: Conversing with God in Solitude

I’ve been writing quotes down over the summer and am beginning to type them up, they will find their way here over the fall. This is from Richard Baxter’s work, Converse with God in Solitude. Published in the 17th century, this is quickly one of the dearest books on my shelf regarding how I think of God in prayer.

Here are four quotes to prime you: 

For if God be with me, the maker, ruler and disposer of all things is with me; he is with me, to whom i am absolutely devoted; who loves me best; whose love is more to me than the love of all my friends in the world; with whom my greatest business lies; with whom I may converse without reserve or interruption; and with whom I must live forever…
…And as my greatest, so my daily business is also with God. He purposely leaves me under daily want and necessities, and the daily assault of enemies, and the surprise of afflictions, that I may be daily driven to Him. He loves to hear from me, He would have me be no stranger to him…
…If God not be enough to employ my soul, then all the persons and things on earth are not enough. And when I have infinite goodness to delight in, where my soul may freely let out itself, without fear of exceeding love, how sweet should this employment be!
…I am often unready to pray, but my God is always ready to hear. I am unready to come to him, walk with him, and delight myself in him, but he is never unready to entertain me. Many a time my conscience would have driven me away, but God has invited me to him, and rebuked my accusing and trembling conscience. Many a time I have called myself a prodigal, “a miserable sinner,” when he has called me “his son,” and reproved me for questioning his love. He has readily forgiven the sins, which I thought would have made my soul the fuel of hell. He has entertained me with joy, with music and a feast, when I rather deserved to be cast out of doors….O how many mercies have I tasted since I thought I had sinned away all mercies! How patiently he has borne with me, since I thought he would have never put up with me more! And yet, except my sins, and the withdrawing of my heart, there has been nothing to interrupt our converse.  I upbraid myself with my sins, but he upbraids me not. I condemn myself for them, but he will not condemn me. He forgives me sooner than I forgive myself. I have peace with him, before I can have peace in my own conscience.
the slowness of change & the goodness of God.

the slowness of change & the goodness of God.

Any day now, she will begin walking. My daughter has been moving from couch to table and scooting along, but has yet to take her first unaided steps. We have walked the halls of our home, hand in hand, as she learns her way. Those moments of eye contact are as pure and precious as I have ever known.

The writer of Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. But there is a time where everything is new for you. And then there is a time where things are new again.

Parents of older children have asked me, “did you ever think you could love someone so much the instant you saw them?” I am often unprepared for the tenderness my little girl reveals in me, and how I treasure the smallest of moments with her.

And even though we wish she would start walking, we know it means saying goodbye to the slap-slap-slap of her hands upon the hardwood floor. In this it is ever more plain to me how slow we as humans develop. I keep looking at her and wanting the (first) next step. Then I think, she will learn to walk. It is a natural part of development, and it will come in time. That helps me wait.

In a season where I have longed for my own growth, to finally overcome my lack of discipline, my pride, or any of the items on my mental list of the better me, I am frustrated at how long it seems to take to master the first step. But God knows exactly how long it will take, and what is forming in me for the change to happen. Where I seem to keep crawling, his grace takes me hand in hand, it helps me lean into him as I learn my footsteps.

This leaning teaches me. My daughter is not old enough yet to realize my failures, she has no framework for distrust in her father at one year old. But it is coming. Whether it be my sin, or someone else’s, she will learn pain and fear and regret amidst all the good and beautiful and true things that life has to offer. She will have to learn how to trust and believe what is true.

The call to my anxious heart could not be more timely. God is a good father, who gives himself and is trustworthy. He will never leave his children, nor forsake them due to their performance. I consistently base my expectation of God’s love towards me on my experience of the inherent failures of every human relationship in my life, instead of the inherent lack of failure at any level in the life of Jesus Christ who is my covering.  To believe this more quickly and more deeply is the growth I need – that God is a good father to me despite me because of Jesus.

To believe this in itself is a work of faith, the gift of God.

In a prayer for the believers of the early church, the apostle Paul asked God that Christ would dwell in the hearts of these believers through faith. He asked that through presence of Christ in their heart they would be rooted and grounded in love. This gift of stability and foundation would enable them to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love, to apprehend and know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that they might be filled with all the fullness of God.

Paul prayed that these believers might see God’s goodness and believe in Him despite all which would tempt them to doubt (like their own failures to walk faithfully in holiness). That they could re-read sections of this same letter and believe that God is a God who lavishes his kindness upon his children because of Jesus. He wants their good and is working for it in Christ. What a living promise of our inheritance as his child! To delight with long-abandoned wonder in beauty that is more real and true than the things we can now touch and hold.

I want my heart to grasp his character with more faith and sight each day. I want roots and stability in love through the gift of faith that I might relish in the kindness of God’s love towards me in his son, and as his child. Which transforms the days I rate myself high and low, where I swing between pride and self condemnation into days where I quit looking at myself and look more intently at the goodness of God. Even in the midst of a tantrum it is a new experience for me to both recognize failure and be moved in love towards my child. God does the same towards us, unmoved by our failure because of Christ, and pursuing us in love as his children.

Recently I sat with a few friends as we spoke of our children and the unexpected moments with each new season of development. One brother said, “I was looking at my son recently and it clicked in my head. All the love I feel in my heart, the fullness and depth that wells up, that’s what my dad felt when he looked at me.”

Believer, that’s what God feels when he looks at you in Christ. It’s not selfish to delight in his love, or to thank him for it. What good father would not welcome the affection of his children and rejoice in the sharing of their love? It is our learned distrust and inherent separation from him that he gives us faith to overcome in Christ. He loves us because of Jesus and invites us into life with him, helping us grow up and develop into all that he would have us to be. It is because of God’s beauty in his God-ness and as the good father that we come to him, where things become new again in a deeper, truer way than before.

By grace we trade the slap-slap-slap of our hands to take his own and lean into Him for our lives.

after dinner, they sang together. (matthew 26)

after dinner, they sang together. (matthew 26)

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matt. 26:26-30 )

Keith A. Mathison suggests in his work, Given for you, that this night in history, moments before he prayed for us in the Garden of Gethsemane, was betrayed unto death, and hung upon the cross,  Jesus sang these words from the Psalms with his disciples:

For you have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
My feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

I will lift up the cup of salvation
And call on the name of the LORD,
I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
(Ps. 116:8-9, 13-15, 17)

I shall not die, but I shall live,
And recount the deeds of the LORD.
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
That I may enter through them
And give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
The righteous shall enter through it.

The stone that the builders rejected
Has become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The LORD is God,
And he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
Up to the horns of the altar!
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
You are my God; I will extol you.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
For his steadfast love endures forever!
(Ps. 118:17, 19-20, 22-24, 27-29)

 

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” (Matthew 26:36)

 

Edwards’ Resolutions & Our Daily Need.

Edwards’ Resolutions & Our Daily Need.

Early in my twenties I read Edwards’ Resolutions, a display of intent towards holiness written by a man desiring to please God with his life. I read the list over and again, taking in his precisely crafted hopes. Then I made my own list, copying some of Edwards. Resolved, to live with all my might while I do live. To take advantage of every hour given to me and to count it as grace. When I sin, to recall the nature of heart and thought that led me from temptation to action and away from God. And the list grew over the years. With each new volume of lined manilla pages I traced my resolutions once again.

In Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards, Kyle Strobel shines light on Edwards’ resolutions in a way that has given me pause. Strobel juxtaposes the elder and younger Edwards,  and in this helped me to see the work of grace in my own heart. Strobel cites Edwards: “though it seems to me, that in some respects I was a far better Christian, for two or three years after my first conversion, than I am now; and lived in a more constant delight and pleasure: yet of late years, I have had a more full and constant sense of the absolute sovereignty of God, and a delight in that sovereignty; and have had more of a sense of the glory of Christ, as a mediator, as revealed in the Gospel.”

My Professor in seminary once told us, “Say I have a man who’s besetting sin is sleeping around. On average, he is sleeping with 30-40 women a year. The Lord saves that man, and we walk together as brothers. During the next year of his life, he sleeps with 3 women. Do you condemn this man? Do you doubt his salvation or his understanding of Christ’s work? Think of the standard to which you hold him. If it is holiness, no one has met that, save Christ. If it is the progressive and saving work of the Spirit – then look at how much his life has changed from where he started.” Talk about throwing a wrench in the church kid’s world.

That worldview is one that recognizes dependence, inability, and false righteousness. The saved man’s life is changed and he is still in need of grace. To think of where I have come from and where I am now, gratitude grows with every dip, every bend.

Edwards goes on, “I have a vastly greater sense, of my universal, exceeding dependence on God’s grace and strength, and mere good pleasure, of late, than I used to formerly have; and have experienced more of an abhorrence of my own righteousness. The thought of any comfort or joy, arising in me, on any consideration, or reflection on my own amiableness, or any of my performances or experiences, or any goodness of heart or life, is nauseous and detestable to me. And yet I am greatly afflicted with a proud and self-righteous spirit; much more sensibly than I used to be formerly.”

The elder Edwards is aware of his frame and open with his need. His formed voice is worth hearing, one tenored by grace–sweeter, humbler, dependent. The heart moves from a list of moral action to sitting at Christ’s feet, and calls others beside them.

My Professor, again, “The mark of a Christian is his affections and desires, not his momentary lapses. Not that he does well, but that he knows the pit out of which he was dug, and knows where to go for cleansing when he falls back into it.”

This is our road. The way of dependence is one of surrender and delight, both in recognition of our depravity and reveling in His beauty.

Sorkin, Edwards, Keller & Excellency.

Sorkin, Edwards, Keller & Excellency.

I’ve been following someone for a few years now. From the anchor desk to the halls of power, from backstage to the network, I have been on the heels of the words that have drawn me in and kept me. I’ve been listening to how Aaron Sorkin has been writing. If you’ve been listening with me, you know that there is something tangibly forceful in his words. I’ve wrestled to put flesh to bone, but when I heard Sorkin articulate his writing aim, I finally had vocabulary to describe why I loved it so. Sorkin appeared on Fresh Air in 2012 plugging his latest work, The News Room.

GROSS: So what about you? Why did you want to set a show in a newsroom?

SORKIN: I like writing idealistically and romantically, and if you can do that in a place that’s usually looked at cynically, the way journalism is now, you can get something fun out of it.

GROSS: Why do you like writing idealistically? Another example of that would be “The West Wing.”

SORKIN: Sure. It suits my style. I like writing about heroes that they don’t wear capes or disguises. It’s aspirational. You feel like, gee, it looks like the real world and feels like the real world. Why can’t that be the real world?

That was it – it looks like the real world and feels like the real world, written idealistically and romantically…in a place that’s usually looked at cynically. As if he dared to write how he wished the world would be.

Lately I have been re-watching The West Wing, and in hearing Sorkin’s aim – I realized what exactly was stalking me through the halls as I followed others. I like writing idealistically and romantically, and if you can do that in a place that’s usually looked at cynically, the way religion is now, you can get something fun out of it.

I’ve also been following Jonathan Edwards this last year. Specifically his view on the power of the imagination, how the language used by man to communicate has immense force to illustrate ideas and realities that are beyond tangible grasp. The imagination, loved by creatives and lost by seminary students. Edwards spoke of the discovery power of the imagination – the ability of words and phrases to illustrate for the mind the images of the everyday as they pointed towards the image of the Divine.

This is why Sorkin’s language rings in my ears, because it is written to be heard, intended to leave you a bit unsettled because you are engaged at every comma and enthralled at every period. Edwards believed that the pastor’s words were to take the everyday experience of the person in the pew and use it to point to the nature of God. The imagination discovers something it cannot create, but will continue to discover for eternity.

For all my listening and all my reading, the puzzle for me is why our words are so weak. We hear of the beauty of Christ, we know that there is something there to be understood, but we have a hard time seeing what it means in the concrete. Tell someone that Christ is their treasure, not their possessions or their family or their job, and there is little framework for them to comprehend. Their hearts are tied up in all those things. We speak to the mind with language of the heart, but the heart is engaged elsewhere.

Then I came across this gem from Tim Keller’s work, Preaching the Gospel in a Post-Modern World:

If the people are materialistic and ungenerous, it means they have not truly understood how Jesus, though rich, became poor for them. It means they have not truly understood what it means that in Christ we have all riches and treasures. It means their ‘affections’ are clinging to material things–their souls are inclined toward riches as a source of spiritual security, hope, and beauty. They may have superficial intellectual grasp of Jesus’ spiritual wealth, but they do not truly grasp it. Thus in preaching we must re-present Christ in the particular way that he replaces the place of material things in the affections. This takes not just intellectual argument, but the presentation of the beauty of Christ. Edwards believed that at the root of the heart’s affections was the search for ‘excellency’–that which is appreciated and rested in for its own sake. Edwards essentially defined a nominal Christian as one who finds Christ useful (to get those things the heart found ‘excellent’ or beautiful), while a true Christian is one who finds Christ for who he is in himself.

There is a reason that our hearts swell when writing enflames our affections, when it helps our imagination discover what we could not see before. Edwards knew it, and he knew the human heart. Sorkin knows the heart, and in his best moments he touches the edges of beauty, but not what is truly beautiful.

That is the work of the preacher, to point to what is truly excellent. There is a particular work of the Spirit that gives this sight, and he has chosen to do it through preaching the Word. We are speaking about the hero who needs no cape, who entered into the real world that we might know true ideal and romance in his excellency.

We follow beauty, and Christ is most beautiful, so let us use every syllable to paint the colors of his excellency in the minds of our hearers. It would be a shame to do otherwise.

the difficult nature of receiving.

the difficult nature of receiving.

About three weeks ago I had to be at our office in Flower Mound for an early meeting. It finished before 9, so I opted for breakfast. I popped into a friend’s office and he went with me to Chik-Fil-A. He went ahead and ordered, and then we did the awkward thing of “and whatever he wants, it’s together.” He bought my breakfast, and I had asked him to run with me – just thinking we’d each pay our own. He blessed me with a great biscuit sandwich and a bad coffee – but I got stuck on how I needed to buy the next meal, or if what I ordered was too expensive. I felt a weird sense of shame or inadequacy because I wanted to provide for myself, and didn’t like being beholden to someone else. I had a hard time receiving the blessing from my brother. I didn’t have a hard time eating it – but reconciling the action in my heart was a different matter.

Receiving is difficult. Being given something stirs us differently than doing the giving. Being given something is harder than earning it, especially for really driven people. It’s an insult to our pride, our learned desire to be self-reliant. It throws off this identity of being self-sovereign and self-sustaining, so we have to reconcile it by repaying the debt or promising to give an equal (or better) gift, rather than trusting the goodness of the gift and the giver. You see receiving is difficult for the Christian because it is continuous, it takes humility, and it requires imagination.

In saying it is continuous, what I mean is that for the Christian to receive the kingdom of God, there is a lifelong receiving of God’s gift and the implied realities of the need for the gift. It’s not a momentary acceptance and then eternal joy, but daily temptations to trade one kingdom for another, to devalue, distrust, or disbelieve the goodness of Christ. The call to receive the kingdom is the call to trust his provision over your own, and our daily temptations, struggles and sin mean that this is a continuous process.

In saying that receiving takes humility, it means that only if we see ourselves rightly can we depend rightly upon God as the giver. Andrew Murray’s classic work, Humility, was an eye opener for me here. Christian humility is not merely self-deprecating or self-effacing – it is actually embracing the true nature of the self (depraved, limited, and in need) and living in light of our need (and acceptance of his provision to us). If we don’t see ourselves as needy, the gift of the Gospel won’t be a treasure to us.

And in saying that receiving takes imagination – I mean that to receive rightly takes the God-given, Spirit-driven, Christ-exalting gift of the imagination not to create a reality, but to discover the reality of the Gospel that apart from the work of the Spirit in our hearts, we would never know on our own. It’s this work of the Spirit that Calvin, Edwards, and many others have called the ‘sense of the heart,’ – this taste of God’s goodness, of his beauty. It’s here were the childlike sense of wonder is regained. Where we see the beauty of Christ and when he stands in front of us we run to him instead of asking how to please him.

But without this grace of God in our lives, the act of receiving remains too difficult. We are unable to be humble. We can’t taste God’s goodness; we are bound to earning, self-generating purpose and identity, striving in our pride. In this we are just like the rich man: offered life at the expense of our identity, and would rather protect what we’ve built than trust what we’re offered – even when we know that its not working out for us. It’s impossible for us to receive, to enter the kingdom because we’re treasuring our gifts, when it’s the Giver that calls us to himself.

 

from a sermon on Mark 10:13-27,  read the whole thing here.

Trust Like a Child, Treasure the Giver.

Trust Like a Child, Treasure the Giver.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about children. My daughter is due on Sunday, and Lord willing we will welcome her into the world, and into our lives within the next week. At our new church campus there are dozens of small children, and as we’re approaching parenthood I’ve been noticing them more, trying to learn from the parents as they take care of their kids. As we have been talking through parenthood and the coming season, I’ve been struck by the utter dependency of the child we are about to bring in our home – and how the goal is that at some point she will grow into an adult and (Lord willing) not be dependent upon us anymore.

I mention adulthood because part of the basic nature of growing up is losing our need for dependence upon our parents – upon those who, as children, we were utterly dependent, trusted explicitly, and looked to for provision. We grow up and depend on ourselves, making our way in the world –in this we trade the key distinction of our childhood (the ability to trust without reserve, to depend wholly on another) for the more socially respectable trait of self-reliance (the ability to trust ourselves, and the learned distrust of others through living in a fallen world).

And it’s this lost child-like state that Christ calls us to, telling us that only those who can believe, act, and trust like a child will be given the gift of God: eternal life.

Mark 10 holds two short stories. The first gives us the image we need to center on, (the childlike faith we need to live in); the second gives us the warning of what happens when we trade that faith for something else.

Mark 10:13-27

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. 17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

In these two short stories we can see that those who receive eternal life trust like a child, and treasure the Giver.

In looking at what it means to trust like a child, we must look at the difference between the children and the rich man in our two stories.

The children come to the Lord because of who he is. The text says that the Lord took them in his arms, blessed them, hugged them. These kids were looking to be near to Jesus because of who he is. They came with wonder as only children can. They had heard the stories about him, believed wholeheartedly the news of the miracles. They came to him simply and without pretense, as children do. You’ve seen this in kids – there is a sweetness in the way which they love, in the way which we once loved. There is a trust that they exude towards Christ out of who they are – and who they know him to be.

Contrast that with the rich man, who came to the Lord for himself, looking to hear what he had to do in order to get what he wanted. He came showing great respect, so he wasn’t trying to work Jesus. He was a devout man who wanted earnestly to know how to inherit eternal life – because everything he was doing wasn’t working. But he missed it. He missed Jesus because he was looking at how he could please God, while he was looking at God.

Between these two, what do you lean towards more often? Are you trusting in who God is, or in how you can do what He wants? Are you enjoying Him – or missing him in trying to please him?

Hear the Lord’s words in v. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

We mentioned the difference between the children and the rich man, and here you see the Lord clearly outline – unless you receive it like a child, you won’t enter the kingdom. Receiving something should be easy, especially something so great as this.

But the thing about receiving is that it is a hard task. So let’s talk about the difficult nature of receiving.

About three weeks ago I was at our office in Flower Mound for an early meeting. It finished before 9, so I opted for breakfast. I popped into a friend’s office and he went with me to chik-fil-a. He went ahead and ordered, and then we did the awkward thing of “and whatever he wants, it’s together.” He bought my breakfast, and I had asked him to run with me – just thinking we’d each pay our own. He blessed me with a great biscuit sandwich and a bad coffee – but I got stuck on how I needed to buy the next meal, or what I ordered was too expensive. I felt a weird sense of shame or inadequacy because I wanted to provide for myself, and didn’t like being beholden to someone else. I had a hard time receiving the blessing from my brother. I didn’t have a hard time eating it – but reconciling the action in my heart was a different matter.

Receiving is difficult. Being given something stirs us differently than giving. Being given something is harder than earning it, especially for really driven people. It’s an insult to our pride, our learned desire to be self-reliant. It throws off this identity of being self-sovereign and self-sustaining, so we have to reconcile it by repaying the debt or promising to give an equal (or better) gift, rather than trusting the goodness of the gift and the giver. You see receiving is difficult for the Christian because it is continuous, it takes humility, and it requires imagination.

In saying it is continuous, what I mean is that for the Christian to receive the kingdom of God, there is a lifelong receiving of God’s gift and the implied realities of the need for the gift. It’s not a momentary acceptance and then eternal joy, but daily temptations to trade one kingdom for another, to devalue, distrust, or disbelieve the goodness of Christ. The call to receive the kingdom is the call to trust his provision over your own, and our daily temptations, struggles and sin mean that this is a continuous process.

In saying that receiving takes humility, it means that only if we see ourselves rightly can we depend rightly upon God as the giver. Andrew Murray’s classic work, Humility, was an eye opener for me here. Christian humility is not merely self-deprecating or self-effacing – it is actually embracing the true nature of the self (depraved, limited, and in need) and living in light of our need (and acceptance of his provision to us). If we don’t see ourselves as needy, the gift of the Gospel won’t be a treasure to us.

And in saying that receiving takes imagination – I mean that to receive rightly takes the God-given, Spirit-driven, Christ-exalting gift of the imagination not to create a reality, but to discover the reality of the Gospel that apart from the work of the Spirit in our hearts, we would never know on our own. It’s this work of the Spirit that Calvin, Edwards, and many others have called the ‘sense of the heart,’ – this taste of God’s goodness, of his beauty. It’s here were the childlike sense of wonder is regained. Where we see the beauty of Christ and when he stands in front of us we run to him instead of asking how to please him.

But without this grace of God in our lives, the act of receiving remains too difficult. We are unable to be humble. We can’t taste God’s goodness; we are bound to earning, self-generating purpose and identity, striving in our pride. In this we are just like the rich man: offered life at the expense of our identity, and would rather protect what we’ve built than trust what we’re offered – even when we know that its not working out for us. It’s impossible for us to receive, to enter the kingdom because we’re treasuring our gifts, when it’s the Giver that calls us to himself.

And like the disciples, you and I ask – then who can be saved? And the Lord says: “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God. It’s impossible for man to see things rightly, to receive things rightly – even to treasure things rightly – but with God, all things are possible.

As those who receive eternal life trust like a child, they also treasure the Giver.

This is Christ’s call to the rich man – sell all you have and get treasure in Heaven. The Lord speaks elsewhere about treasure, saying that what you value is what your heart will chase. He also says that the kingdom of God is the real treasure. That if you see it you’ll sell all you have just to buy the field its in. You’ll go for broke for the chance to buy the pearl because you see that in getting the Kingdom, you get the Giver. You get God.

So what are you treasuring over the Giver? The gifts? What he’s blessed you with – your talent, intellect, ability? What He’s given you to steward – your spouse, children, finances, ministry? What you get from what you have – comfort, power, respect, a sense of self?

Or are you treasuring who he is? There’s something to that child-like state of dependence – the love we have towards a parent. We love them because of who they are and what they mean to us. It’s them we want when we fall, it’s them we want when we’re hurting. And that’s how the Lord tells us to come into the kingdom. Trust like a child, and treasure the Giver.