You don't have to like Disney or ever have watched a Disney movie to quote the current conventional wisdom from the mouse monopoly. It's all over the radio, in department stores and tattooed on brains ages 0-99: Let it go!
While the "Frozen" dynasty is somewhat past (premiering in 2013, its merchandise is still selling everywhere!), with features like "Inside Out" and "The Good Dinosaur" having made the big screen at the end of last year, the message from Disney's now 3-year-old animated feature is still quoted and sung by the masses.
Ironically, it's a message that the church has been preaching for a long time, too. We spin it a little differently -- "Let go, and let God" -- but the message is similar. Don't cling to things so tightly. Whether a secret that keeps us bound or a character we're trying to play, letting go is an act of stepping into freedom that can change us for the better.
This week, I'm working on a message about Jesus' encounter with the guy we call the "rich young ruler," since context clues from the Gospels tell us these things about him. Here's a man who, in his current social context, has everything going for him financially and positionally, and certainly everything he physically needs. Yet there's an awareness on his part that something is missing, if not now, in a time to come. It's in this frame of mind the man comes to Jesus and asks the big question: "What good thing should I do to inherit [some texts read: obtain or possess] eternal life?"
Jesus' ultimate message to the man proves that God had the corner on this message looooong before Disney: "Let it go!" While the young man has done well (in his own eyes, at least) of keeping the Commandments -- you know, the biggies from the finger of God Himself on Mt. Sinai -- Jesus points out that maybe this young man missed something. Something in the details, but also something he can't even seen.
After all, doesn't one of those commandments say something about coveting your neighbor's stuff? OK, maybe that doesn't apply, since this guy likely has the financial means to buy whatever he wants. But one of them says something about stealing. And I'm pretty sure that if this guy has amassed enough wealth that he doesn't want for anything, someone else is wanting for a lot because he's got enough for several people.
Regardless, Jesus challenges this rich young guy to relinquish all of his earthly possessions and take the profits from the sale to make sure that the poor have what they need, and then come and follow Him. It seems that just keeping commandments isn't enough. Jesus even promises that real treasure in heaven awaits those who follow Him. Still, when it all comes out in the wash, the rich young man walks away sad (the text describes him as deeply grieved and gloomy) because he just can't "let it go."
I wonder how much I've held on to, unaware that it could be keeping me from authentic, deep fellowship (or should I say "follow-ship") with Jesus? During this season of Lent, of reflection and repentance, I'm not only wrestling with this question, but confessing to the Lord my inadequate answer: too much.
Are you brave enough to consider the question with me? What are you so attached to that you can't seem to let go to take hold of something greater?
Jesus follower. Wife. Mom. Daughter. Friend. Pastor. Learner.