“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” (Martin Luther 1483–1546)
There is a beautiful story about a child playing with a vase his mother had left on the table for a few moments. When the mother turned at the sound of her son crying she saw that his hand was in the vase and was apparently stuck. She tried to help him and pulled and pulled until the child cried out in pain. But the hand was stuck fast. How would they get it out?
The father suggested breaking the vase but it was quite valuable and the child’s hand might be cut in the process. Yet he knew that if all else failed there would be no other alternative. So he said to the boy, “Now, let’s make one more try. Open your hand and stretch your fingers out straight, like I’m doing, and then pull!” “But Dad,” said the boy, “if I do that I’ll lose my penny!”
The boy had had a coin in his hand all the time and was holding it securely in his tight little fist. And he wasn’t prepared to open his hand and lose the penny. But once he opened his hand it came out of the vase easily.
That vase can be likened to the entrance to the Kingdom of God. It is narrow but quite easy to pass in, but first you must open your hand to God – a hand in the hand. But we like to keep our fists closed and hold fast to what we have and keep it for ourselves. There is nothing wrong with money and possessions – it is only when they assume an importance beyond their value in life that problems arise. I had a friend for many years who seemed to be preoccupied with money and the need to get it. It didn’t seem to give him much pleasure, only the worry of investing it to obtain the best advantage. I conducted his funeral service some years ago and it brought home to me that you can’t take it with you. We arrived with nothing and will depart the same way.
Jesus told the parable of the rich man who wanted to build bigger barns to store his grain and goods. But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ We need to be on guard, or the things we own will begin to own us. It is our own clenched fist that makes us a prisoner. Open your hand to the hand of God. Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.
Ron Clarke JP An e-mail from Kingborough, near Hobart, Tasmania, Australia http://word4week.com