“A time to keep, and a time to cast away.” Ecclesiastes 3:6b
Have you ever had one of those days where the only words you have left are, “I can’t do this anymore?” The kind of day where the water just seems to be rising all around you and you’re just looking to grab onto anything in sight to help you catch your breath?
Yep, that kind of day. Except for me, that kind of day turned into a few long years of heartbreaking disappointments. In that season, the plans in my life that I was chasing after were constantly at odds with what the Lord was calling me towards. And eventually I came to a place where I remember thinking, “If this is what it means to serve and obey God, then I’m out.”
It was then that I started to really pray. And honestly, most of my prayers started with, “Lord, if you do this then I’ll do that.” It was through those prayers that God was revealing the reality that my heart is deceitful above all things.1 That my heart was in need of a desperate rewiring because the truth is: I wanted the kingdom, but I wasn’t willing to pay the price of the cross. I wanted to feast with Jesus, but I didn’t want to fast. I wanted to rejoice but didn’t want to suffer. And with my lips, I was proclaiming that Jesus paid it all, yet wanted to lead a life that cost me nothing.
I’m not sure about you, but I find it comforting to know that I’m not the only one who, despite the best intentions, has allowed my heart to be led astray by my desires. When the writer wrote Proverbs 16, I wonder if he was thinking back on all the times that Solomon was led astray by the desires of his heart towards the things of this world. The writer goes on to write:
1 The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.
3 Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
At first glance, verse three is likely a very familiar verse as it often makes its way onto coffee mugs and t-shirts, but if you dig a little deeper, there is a ton more wisdom to be found. In biblical Hebrew, the word “commit” translates from gâlal, meaning to roll. And “work” translates from maʻăseh, meaning your pursuits, your undertakings, your achievements, so on and so forth. In the original language, the writer is encouraging us to essentially roll all of our pursuits onto the Lord.
Weird, right? Except if you’ve ever moved into a new apartment or home, you would know that when things are too heavy, you don’t carry them inside. Instead, you place the thing onto something that was created to carry the weight, and then you roll it to its final destination.
Now, what a picture of Jesus’ words, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”2 Have you ever wondered if Jesus felt the truth of those words on the cross?
As I thought of Jesus’ last moments, I began to see the beauty of submission that was displayed at the cross in ways I have yet to see it before. For so long, I thought Jesus’ last words were, “It is finished.”3 But it turns out that He wasn’t finished when He said it was finished. He had one final thing to say: “Father, into Your hands, I commit my spirit.”4
The moment it was truly finished was when Jesus entrusted all of His plans, all of His desires and all of His life into the hands of His loving Father. And you know what? God came through. Jesus rolled His entire being into the Father, and three days later, the Father sent an angel to roll that stone away paving the way for the greatest miracle of all time: the resurrection of Jesus Christ.5
Jesus chose to commit, to roll, His greatest work into the hands of His Father because He knew that the object of His trust, His Father, could hold the weight of His circumstances, even if those circumstances required death on a cross. Jesus modeled that every time we walk in loving obedience to what the Father has called us to, the death of self always gives birth to life. And oftentimes, it’s not just new life for us, but for others.
Because the stone was rolled away, I could now loosen my grip and let go of a life that was built on performing, achieving and winning the approval of those around me and instead roll into and grab ahold of the One who promises to equip me for every good work that He has planned.6
Because the stone was rolled away, I could now loosen my grip and let go of all the plans and dreams of how I thought my life would play out and instead roll into and grab ahold of the One who is at work in me both to will and to work for His good pleasure.7
And because the stone was rolled away, the invitation to let go of what you’re holding onto and instead roll into and grab ahold of the promises of your good, good Father are available to you too.
It’s not the weight of what you are holding onto that is burdensome, it’s just how tight you are holding it. By choosing to loosen your grip, you’ll quickly realize that you have the ability to hold onto a lot more than you ever thought or imagined you could. And it’s in that place that Jesus will fill your hands, not with more of your wants or desires, but with more of Himself.
- What do you need to let go of so you too can grab ahold of the one who is truly life?
- Where is God calling you to greater obedience or surrender in your life?
1 Jeremiah 17:9 2 Matthew 28:30 3 John 19:30 4 Luke 23:46 5 Matthew 28:2 6 2 Timothy 3:17 7 Philippians 2:13