Thursday, August 16, 2012

Catching Squirrels

(Apologies for the late post. I wrote this on the plane yesterday but was more jet-lagged than usual last night and I'm just now waking back up)

How do you catch a squirrel? They say if you hide a nut behind a small hole the squirrel will reach in for the nut and get stuck. Its closed fist will be too large to pull back through the hole, but the squirrel is not smart enough to let go of the nut to get free.

We are a lot like that squirrel, and the world has figured out how to trap us. How easy is it to reach in to grab things, unwilling to let go for our own good? It starts young- right after learning dada and mama, the next words out of a young child's mouth is usually mine or more. We put on diapers with popular cartoon characters, is if it makes any difference to the kid. And then the toys come- every birthday, every Christmas, and every excuse in between- Easter, Valentine's Day, even a natural part of development like losing a tooth is followed by a visit from the tooth fairy, bringing money.

We are raised to want more and more. And it isn't limited to children's toys. The iPhone 4 isn't good enough, you need the iPhone 5. Never mind that your old TV was a 36 standard-def, you need that 60 inch high-def plasma. Got in on the ground floor of HDTV? Upgrade your 720p to 3D. Meanwhile I type this on my iPad after reading the second chapter of A.W. Tozer's Pursuit of God via my Kindle App.

I have a lot. If you're reading this on a computer screen or a portable device, you have a lot too. So the hard question we need to ask ourselves, is if our hands are stuck in the hole? Recently my wife and I were looking at ways to trim our budget. I wrestled with the thought of giving up my iPhone and XM radio. I just couldn't do it. Why? What am I going to miss out on? We've already had to implement a no-phone rule at dinner. I probably wouldn't be losing anything, rather gaining otherwise wasted time.

Tozer writes, "Things have become necessary for us, a development never originally intended. God's gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution." (pg 18) He them goes on to remind us of the example of Abraham, who was asked by God to sacrifice- put to death- that what meant the most, his son Isaac. Instead of protesting, asking how he could live without, he obeyed. God spared his son and blessed Abraham for learning this hard lesson. Tozer continues, "the words "my" and "mine" never again had the same meaning to Abraham." (pg 21)

"Mine" still means something to me. It's amazing how much I can hold in one hand while it is so hard to pull it from the trap.

This blog is part of a book club reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. Please join the discussion here and at our hosts, Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. Need a copy of the book? You can get it for free on Kindle.


Jason Stasyszen said...

Frank, what an excellent analogy you make with the squirrel. We don't have enough sense to let go! We certainly do have a lot and those hard questions are necessary. I believe they have to be asked and aided by the Holy Spirit because if we do it all ourselves we tend toward condemnation or self-righteousness. He gets us where we need to be as we submit to Him. Great thoughts, Frank. Thanks so much.

Fatha Frank said...

Great point about relying on our own strength and trying to "let go and let God" all on our own. I've been on both sides of the result- self-righteousness and self-condemnation. Those are really two sides of the same coin- something else we need to let go of.