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Deprivation and Hope {into the story}

So, therefore, none of you can become my disciples if you do not give up all of your possessions.
{Gospel reading for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Luke 14:25-33)

Jesus words’ cause distress for many of us. We look at all we have – and all that we want to have – and we wonder (hope) what else Jesus could possibly have meant. Must I hand over the house I live in, the car I drive, the computer I’m typing on in order to follow Jesus? 
Yes.
But this isn’t a matter of me surrendering the title or the keys of anything over to God; this is a matter of me abandoning the illusion that the keys or the title were ever mine to begin with. Scripture’s most fundamental truth is this: God is King. God owns everything. Everything.
Whatever I think I own – it’s an illusion. Following Jesus means coming to terms with the truth that God possesses all things. Following Jesus means seeing the world as it truly is.
We’ve heard the mantra: It’s hard to be Jesus’ disciple in America because we own so much. I see it slightly differently. I think it’s hard to be Jesus’ disciple in America because we find it so difficult to believe that we don’t own a thing.
Karl Barth said that our temptation is to live in ways that suggest “the characteristic marks of Christianity [are] possession and self-sufficiency” when in reality they are “deprivation and hope.” I love that paradox. I am deprived. I have nothing. Try as I might to make something of myself (and I try, try, try), it’s a bismal failure. I have nothing.
But I do have hope. I have hope because the King of All has named me Beloved. And has welcomed me home. And even now prepares me a feast. To give up my possessions is to admit the truth that I don’t have any possessions. And then to receive God’s lavish, unbridled grace and kindness.

One thought on “Deprivation and Hope {into the story}

  1. "To give up my possessions is to admit the truth that I don't have any possessions. And then to receive God's lavish, unbridled grace and kindness."
    Gonna feed on these words today! Thank you, Winn.

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