Daily Devotion 25 June 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Mark 10:17-27 ‘Giving Your All’

17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

On the day I started nursing, 24 of us arrived at the preliminary training school together – all strangers and dependent on our name badges to identify one another. It didn’t help that no first names were used and somewhat to our indignation, they even seemed to have got most of our initials wrong, only Natalie was happy. In the evening, when we had our first lecture we were given the explanation. From the moment of our arrival onwards we had changed – the initial N. which prefixed all our surnames stood for Nurse and that was what we were now expected to be. Like the climax of the hokey-cokey dance, we were expected to put our whole selves in.

As Christians, Jesus has always demanded our all in following him. He never made an exception. If he had ever done so, it would have been in the gospel story above. Outwardly the man had all the trappings that would make for a great follower. Inwardly, however, he was holding back. Jesus recognized that. He doesn’t ask for a partial commitment. He didn’t then; he doesn’t now.

The apostle Paul writes, “I appeal to you brothers and sisters,  by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). When we recognize what God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ, the only response is to give ourselves completely to him. “To present your bodies” is Paul’s way of saying, “Put your whole self in”. And to offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice is like signing a blank sheet of paper and letting God fill it in as he wills. It’s total commitment.

This doesn’t just mean our church life, it means all the hours of our lives. It involves each relationship, each task, each opportunity, each problem, each success, each failure. Do we put our whole selves into God’s hands? Do we commit everything to Jesus? The following is a prayer of St. Ignatius, who founded the Jesuits. Like the covenant prayer of the Methodists, it is a very difficult prayer to pray. Are we ready yet to pray it?

Prayer:

Take, Lord,
receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
my whole will,
all that I have and all that I possess.
You gave it all to me, Lord;
I give it all back to you.
Do with it as you will,
according to your good pleasure.
Give me your love and your grace;
for with this I have all that I need.
Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2021 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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