Currency

By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Charlyn Valencia
By Chad Golden
By Bruce Riley
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Jennifer Durrett
By Penny Jones
By Amy Owen
By Jill Asibelua
By Madi McGraw
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Jeremy Varnell
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Alban Snider
By Sissy Mathew
By Oscar Camacho, Jr
By Shannon Pugh
By Al Palamara
By Don Robb
By Mike Pope
By Melanie Mechsner
By Kyla Mikusek
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Jeremiah Betron
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Shannon Lewis
By Chase Studdard
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Amy Aupperlee
By Tiffany Stein
By Barry Jones
By Erin Hargrave
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Jason Stein
By Nat Pugh
By Sarah Kemper
By Dana Myers
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Lindsey Sobolik
By Scott McClellan
By Andy McQuitty
By Pete Hyndman
By Kevin Dial
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith

I was talking to a friend last night. He is an actor. He is serious about his girlfriend and is thinking about marriage and kids. He was asking me my thoughts — when should all this unfold? “There’s no perfect time to get married and no perfect time to have kids,” I heard myself saying, and I think it’s probably true. I think what is particularly true about it is that there is no time in our lives where marriage and kids will not involve real sacrifice. They don’t fit into a cozy lifestyle like a labradoodle or new Zumba regimen. Other things must succumb.

For the Christian, it gets even WORSE.

There is a lot of talk in Scripture about losing our lives — for Christ’s sake (Matt. 16:25), in picking up our cross (Luke 9:23), in becoming living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). Jesus even speaks hyperbolically about “hating your father and mother” compared to your allegiance to him (Luke 14:26). If marriage and kids asks for major sacrifice in ordinary life, the call of Jesus in a disciple’s life seems astronomical. He asks, very simply and very elegantly, for all of it.

I think it’s important to acknowledge how much this weighs. This weighs as much as your house, as much as you car, as much as your body. It’s also a temporal demand; it’s longer than your waking hours, longer than the timeline of your iCal, longer than your lifespan. It’s heavy and it’s lengthy. And this sometimes seems just a teensy bit excessive at best, and downright maniacal at worst. And the awful thing is, it’s a real demand. It’s not a high ideal that abstractly calls us, on a theoretical level, to give our lives to God in a general way. God has given us real lives to really give back to him. How upsetting!

I bet you can think of something in your life it seems unreasonable for Him to ask you for. I can. He’s GIVEN this Something to me, after all. Why does he need it back? Why would he give it only to renege? Maybe God has given you a surprisingly successful career, or the renewed health of a child, or a romantic relationship you didn’t think was possible. These are real things. Things that put a stake in the ground and hold your tent down on windy days. They’re gifts, really, and you thank God for them constantly. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We thank him because they are real and vital somehow. We rarely thank God for expected blessings or ephemeral concepts we haven’t seen blossoming into beauty during Monday morning traffic. We thank God for things in our lives that are real. And it is precisely because these are real things that he asks us to give them back. They hold value, like gold-backed currency.

In his classic, terrifying book “The Cost of Discipleship”, Dietrich Bonheoffer says of Christ: “He wants to be the center, through him alone all things shall come to pass. He stands between us and God, and for that very reason he stands between us and all other men and things. He is the mediator, not only between God and man, but between man and man, between man and reality.”

Jesus wants to broker our reality. He wants to mediate between It All and us. He does this by giving us gifts, so that in our re-gifting them back to him, he can give us more and more of Himself. Once we surrender them, our gifts — our people, our stuff, our position — become the currency by which we gain more and more of Jesus. It’s our choice how much of him we really want. 

Now look, sometimes when I see books like “The Cost of Discipleship” sitting on my bedside table, I want to throw it under my bed and eat a row of Oreos. I clench my fists against Jesus, the greater gift. I don’t know why. Perhaps you do, too.

And so today, will you pray a prayer of surrender with me? Something like this, maybe:

Lord Jesus, Giver of Gifts,
Thank you, thank you, thank you. These are good gifts. Real gifts.
This thing I love. This person I adore.
Be my broker today between this good gift and me. Mediate between us.
I’m just going to leave it right here… and back away slowly.
Give me You, mostly.
Amen.

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