Seeking More Than One God?

(Cross-Posted at Moms In The Right)

I've been reading a devotional by Beth Moore lately, and it's been so wonderful!  Although nothing beats reading the Bible, God can speak to us through any medium.  Today, He chose Beth's Jesus Day By Day (try as I might, I can not find this book anywhere on the web!).

There were three verses mentioned that really hit home for me:

When Jesus heard this, He told him, "You still lack one thing: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow Me.
- Luke 18:22

When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, because today I must stay at your house."
-Luke 19:5

Jesus said, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"
-Luke 18:24

These verses are plucked from two different stories in the Bible.  In one of the stories, a rich young man approaches Jesus and asks what he must do to please God.  Jesus tells him to follow the commandments.  When the man says "done!", Jesus then instructs him to sell all of his belongings and to follow Him.  The man walks away sad because he knows he can't (won't) do it.

In the other story, Jesus is interacting with a wealthy tax collector.  He's wealthy, of course, because he's spent his career lying and cheating and stealing.  Jesus approaches him, the tax collector greets him with open and grateful arms...but why doesn't Jesus instruct him to get rid of his belongings like he did with the seemingly righteous wealthy young man in the other story?

It seems a terrible contradiction, and one that sometimes leaves me wondering what I should be doing with my life.  

One of my struggles lately has been my intense desire for "success".  I have all sorts of expectations for myself when it comes to being a wife and mom (cleaning, cooking, baking, nurturing, loving, etc.)  I want to lose 15 pounds.  I want to be a well-liked blogger.  I want to be a wildly sought-after photographer.  I spend so much time WORKING...working at being a great mom and wife.  Working to come up with great stuff for this blog.  Working to get this photography business off the ground.

But what am I working for?  To be more specific, WHO am I working for?  Am I working for me, or for Him?  Based on how little time I've spent in the Word and in worship lately, I'd say my heart needs some adjusting (this is all very difficult and embarrassing to admit, you know).

Beth says, "When it comes right down to it, we all follow our 'god'."  Have I been replacing the true Lord of my life with the longings of my selfish heart?  

So what do I do with this realization?  I've been thinking that maybe I should stop blogging.  Or maybe I should forget about trying to do photography as a business.  I should get back to the simple life of cleaning house, nurturing kids, loving hubby, and praising God...and nothing more.

But then I consider the story of the tax collector.  Why didn't Jesus require him to get rid of his earthly possessions?  I believe it's an issue of the heart (as it always is with God).  Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus with open arms.  He was humble before him.  He acknowledged his need for Him.  He even lowered himself to climbing a tree like a child so that he could catch a mere glimpse of Jesus.  His heart was right where it belonged (compare that to the rich young man from the other story who was proud of his own sinlessness and resistant to doing anything it took to follow the Lord).

Beth said something else that really spoke to me, "God isn't looking to take away our possessions.  He is looking to make His Son our greatest possession."  She just has a way with words, doesn't she?  :)

Imagine a priority list with all of you most precious goals, dreams, and loves on it.  Where is Jesus on that list?  Is he at the top?  A few rungs from the top?  Closer to the bottom than you'd like to admit?

In the case of the rich young man, Jesus was 2nd at best.  His great wealth was one thing that was above Jesus, evidenced in his unwillingness to give his wealth away to make Jesus #1.  Contrast that with Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus also had great wealth, but God knew that there was nothing higher on his  list than his longing for the Son.

God, of course, can see our hearts plainly.  He knows where our priorities lie (even before we do sometimes).  Do you see now why it was a requirement for one man to get rid of his wealth, but not the other?  

What about you and your list?  Is there anything in your life that you're clinging so tightly to that you wouldn't give it up if God asked you to?  

Lord, help me to keep you at the center of my focus.  I'm prone to wander, Lord.  It seems that one day I'm living for you, and the very next day I'm living for me and the desires of this world.  Please help me to remember my eternal home.  Move in my heart and life, Lord.  Help me to keep my eye always on you and your will for my life.  And Lord, if there's anything in my life that is more important to me than you...even if it's painful...pluck it out of my life.  I don't want to suffer in this life, to be sure.  But I trust you, Lord.  I trust that you will provide all that I need (and much of what I want) simply because you love me.  Help me to be successful, Lord.  Not for me, but for you.

Please link up and share your experiences with the Lord this week:

Seek The Lord Sunday Participants
1. Vanessa

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Beth in NC  – (2/01/2009 04:56:00 AM)  

Oh Daiquiri, that is such a wonderful post. I can absolutely relate. I seem to have a hard time balancing everything and I've told a few friends that I feel like I'm living off of yesterday's manna. I have such few moments of real down time, unless my family is asleep.

Bless you for sharing with us. I am going to ask my friends to come over and read this post.


Mel  – (2/01/2009 08:59:00 AM)  

ok i made it here by 2 methods, sweet Beth and moms in the right...i can relate to that feeling of wanting to be all of these different is a hard walk between our desires and the desires God has for us!!

nomore  – (2/02/2009 10:15:00 AM)  

hey! sorry, I don't like to miss out on Seek the Lord Sunday.

very good post.

that's a tuff question?

and that's a neat and comforting thought: God's not looking to take away our possessions but that Jesus would be our #1 possession!


Angela  – (2/02/2009 12:53:00 PM)  

This is just amazing that I just finished praying to God about my 'dreams, visions, desires', and I read this devotional. Oh girl, I so connected with what you wrote. When I prayed this afternoon I just surrendered everything and prayed for His visions, His will, His desires for my life,because those are the best! Handing over my blogging, vlogging, wife, mother, daycare provider, being in full time ministry, EVERYTHING to Him..
I too enjoy Beth Moore. I like watching her on James Robison, she is a blessing...Thanks for sharing, it greatly minintered to me...((hugs))

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