What to Throw Out and What to Keep?

“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” – Mark 7:8

Joe was overcome with emotion as he walked into his grandmother’s living room. It was a museum of pictures and collectibles. Each one had a story. Each one was precious in its own way.  Joe, unfortunately, didn’t have the time to savor the sweetness of their memories. He had to clear out the house and prepare it for sale.

As soon as he started with the kitchen and the closets, his sentimental journey came to an abrupt end. Not only did his grandmother save precious items, she also saved everything else. Paper and plastic bags were tucked into every corner. There were old coffee tins and plastic containers filling every cabinet shelf. There were even old toasters and coffee pots set aside because they were considered too good to throw out. Joe’s fond memories of his grandmother’s home were replaced with frustration and one nagging question. “Why did she keep all this stuff?”

Like Joe’s grandmother I too have the tendency to hold on to many things. Some are valuable. Some are sentimental. Some are worthless. I need to be careful so I can identify which is which, and then hold on to what is valuable.

This is especially true with the Word of my Lord. Jesus opens my eyes to the danger I daily face. It is easy to hold on to what I think is important. In the end, an alarming conclusion confronts me. I have held on to things which have no value. At that moment I also realize I have relinquished my hold on what has eternal value.

Jesus’ lesson is clear. I can never allow the decisions of my sinful flesh to cause me to lose my hold on what God has given me in his love. I need to understand my flesh is influenced by the deceptions of the devil and the whims of the world. I also need to understand if I lose my hold on what God has given me, I lose everything. I lose the peace he offers my sin-burdened conscience. I lose the comfort he provides for my guilt-wearied soul. I lose the strength he gives to meet every challenge and temptation.

This is why Jesus was so direct in his admonition. I need to be aware of the dangers I face when I allow my Savior’s rich treasures to be replaced by the empty possessions of this world. I need to listen to that admonition, and I need to hold on to what is valuable.

Prayer: Jesus, instill in me a love for you and your Word that I may always value you as my priceless treasure. Amen.

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