Holding On and Letting Go
Make a tight fist. Yes, go ahead and do it, no one is looking at you. When you make a tight fist what happens? For most people, their overall body and posture tightens. I used to do some tennis coaching. One of the things that people are first taught is that the racket should be held loosely. If it is held too tightly, you lose your ability to be mobile and flexible.
All that we have from God is a gift. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). Everything that we have has been given to us by our Father. Furthermore, He is a good Father who gives us good things. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)
All we have from God is a gift. How then do we view these gifts from God? If we start to think of these gifts as mine rather than God’s, then inevitably we hold on to them too tightly. And if we hold on to them with a tightly clenched fist, we will not let them go.
We are simply stewards of the things around us. They do not ultimately belong to us. They belong to God. And as such, all the things we have are simply vehicles on the road that leads to praising God. We have been made to honor the Father who has given us all things. Thus, all that the Father has given us should be used to honor Him. This requires that we hold on to it loosely, realizing that it belongs to the Father and not to me.
This basic concept is found in the Old Testament.
When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ (Deut 26:1-3)
Notice that the people are to remember that God has given them the land. It is God’s gift to them. What are they supposed to do in response? In order that they will remember that it is a gift from God, they are to give back to God. Furthermore, they are not to give God the leftovers. Instead, they are to give God the first of the harvest.
What is our attitude toward all that God has given to us? Do we hold on to it with a tightly clenched fist, refusing to let it go? Or, do we hold it gratefully yet loosely, ready to part with that which God has given to us? There is, however, a gift from God that we should cling to and never
let it go—the gift of Christ. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Those who respond to this gift with obedient faith receive “the gift of God” which is “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). And that’s a gift worth holding onto.