Most Merciful and Wonderful God, I pray that I was a shining light and a beacon of hope in someone’s life today. If my choices today were not pleasing to you, forgive me. Be with me and guide me tomorrow, so that I might choose your ways and not mine. Surround me with your peace and protective care as I go to my rest. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Daily Archives: July 7, 2021
Psalm 18:1-3 (NRSV)
1 I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
so I shall be saved from my enemies.
Matthew 8:18-22 (NRSV)
Would-Be Followers of Jesus
18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 21 Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
“Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead” (Matthew 8:22)
Have you ever heard of the Shurhold Trap?
Sold in 1912, the Shurhold Trap was an animal trap that used an unusual strategy: the trapper would put a cone-shaped container narrow side down into the ground and place food inside it. The trap had pointy screws encircling the opening. So when a raccoon reached in and made a fist to grab the food, the screws would prevent it from pulling its paw out unless it dropped its treasure. Determined to keep the food, the raccoon would refuse to open its fist and would be stuck there, ready for the trappers to catch it. It could have easily escaped by leaving the food behind, but for some reason, that rarely happened – not even to save its life.
Perhaps this concept of letting go of something in order to be free can help us understand today’s Gospel reading. Here we see Jesus issuing the ultimate challenge of discipleship: release your earthly treasure so that you can be free to follow me and delight in the richness of the life I have for you.
Now, Jesus isn’t telling us to abandon our families. No, he wants us to release those things – or those thoughts – that hold us back from living fully with him. Remember, the disciples left their homes rather quickly, but they had a harder time letting go of their prejudices against Samaritans, their perceptions of Gentiles, and their desire to sit on thrones of power. Did abandoning those thought patterns make them sad or lessen their lives in any way? No. It brought them nothing but a new joyous life in Christ – the radiant joy that became a trademark of the early Church.
Today, try to think about what things or ideas you may be grasping that you need to release. Ask the Spirit to show you any prejudices, anger, or material possessions that may be holding you back from following God’s plans for your life. Take the first step by loosening your grip on just one thing you embrace like a treasure. You’ll find yourself just as free and joyful as the first believers.
Lord, help me to let go of anything that inhibits my ability to love and follow you freely. Jesus, I want to follow your plans for my life. Amen.