Rich man: Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?
Jesus: … You know the commandments: You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.
Rich man: Teacher, I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.
Jesus: There is still one thing you haven’t done. Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Mark 10: 17-22, summarized.
I would like to share with you the inspirational message of what was shared in church today, that being the willingness to sacrifice everything and anything God asks of us. In the above parable, the challenge for the rich man was his great possessions. Although he did good in all other aspects of life, abiding by the commandments, there was one part of his life he was not willing to forsake for Christ – wealth. Imagine if your life was compartmentalized into “treasure boxes” with labels such as Wealth, Family, Time, Health, Past, Future, Career, Relationships etc. Although we know that to enter the Kingdom of God entails fully surrendering ALL these boxes, we often end up snidely hold back some of these boxes. For example, a very busy businessman might say, “Lord, I’ll do whatever you say, give weekly tithes, donate money to charity. You can take everything but not my Time. I cannot afford that 10 minutes of quiet time a day. My agenda and business is priority.” For me my treasure box is Control (particularly over food), Perfectionism and Fear of the Unknown. I feel uncomfortable if I don’t plan ahead or ifI’m unsure what is going to happen next. These include small matters like what I am having for lunch or dinner. If something doesn’t turn out as expected, I do not take it very well. Thus you could say that I’m a control freak, and my most prized possession is Control. What is your treasure box and how can we learn to surrender them to the Lord?
One story that resonates well with the above theme is the story of a Little Girl and her strand of fake pearls. You may have heard of it before as it is considered quite a classic story. Nevertheless I will briefly summarize it. The Little Girl first saw a pretty plastic pearl necklace at a grocery store and she wanted it very much. It was only after much pleading that her Mum finally relented and bought the fake pearl necklace. The Little Girl loved her pearl necklace so much that she wore it every where from school to bed.
The Little Girl had a doting father who would tuck her into bed every night. One night they had a conversation:
Father: Do you love me?
Little Girl: Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you.
Father: Well then, give me your pearls.
Little Girl: Oh! Daddy, not my pearls! But you can have my favourite barbie doll.
Father: Oh no, darling, that’s okay. Good night, little one.
This conversation was repeated every night and the Little Girl would offer her father everything else, from her teddy bear to tea house, but never her fake pearl necklace. But her father wouldn’t accept those.
Finally, one night, the Little Girl timidly approached her father, stretched out her fists and said, “Here, Daddy,” as she handed over her favorite pearl necklace. From his pocket the father pulled out a blue velvet box. Inside of the box lay a strand of genuine beautiful pearls. He had them all along. He was waiting for the Little Girl to give up the cheap stuff so he could give her the real thing.
If the earthly father always wants the best for his children, how much more is it true with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasure.
What are your treasure boxes and pearls that you are holding on to? Sometimes, it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but always remember: The Lord will never take away something without giving you something better in its place. In the next post I shall write on working on how to surrender my Control treasure box wholly to Him.
Something delicious to share this weekend: sushi lunch with Mum at Koh Grill & Sushi Bar, Food Republic at Wisma Atria.
I ordered for myself a plate of assorted sushi (6 pieces) and together, we shared the famous Shiok! Maki. The assorted sushi was nothing to shout about. While the huge fleshy pieces of raw fish were generous, they were fairly fresh only.
On the other hand, the Shiok! Maki truly lived up to its name, even sans the cheesy sauce (I requested it to be separated). Here, teriyaki unagi, seaweed, sticky rice, avocado, aburi (torched) salmon and tobiko (flying fish roe), and a dab of the cheesy sauce are happily married together. Umami heaven!