You Can’t Trust the System
If you have not seen Andy Samberg’s SNL skit “Threw It On The Ground” you need to go watch it right now.
Whenever someone tries to hand him something, they assume that he will participate in their system. But Andy takes it, and throws it on the ground. He does this to defy the system. People are always handing us worldly weights, assuming we will buy into the system and share their values. Sometimes they will make it sound spiritual, but subtly, they are drawing you away from freedom in Jesus to be subject to their controlling, religious system. “The moral of the story is, you can’t trust the system.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
An aspect of running the race in our pursuit of Jesus is laying aside every weight that keeps us from running after Him. Often, the weights that keep us from running after Jesus are not the hard and bad things. Rather, they are the good things that we have accumulated in this life. They have influence on our hearts and persuade us to follow their course. But their course has an end, and often their course deviates from the course of Jesus – leaving us worlds apart from Him at the end of our lives.
All through Scripture, the call to follow Jesus comes to those that have something to lay aside. Jesus does not call those who have nothing in their hands. He calls those that have nets in their hands. And He invites us to throw them on the ground. In fact, if we are going to run after Jesus with endurance, we do not have a choice, we must throw our favorite weights to the ground. In your pursuit of Jesus, there should be a trail of evidence behind you containing worldly “good things” that were not worth carrying when Jesus captured your joy.
So Many Things to Throw on the Ground (Fueling the call).
The fuel for such a response to following Jesus is Jesus Himself. The author of Hebrews commends to us that we must lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely so that we can run after Jesus. But the fuel for laying aside everything to follow Jesus is not found within ourselves. Focus fuels affection, and affection determines the course of our lives. To lay aside everything for Jesus, we must consider that Jesus laid aside everything to have us.
We are not just pursuing a God that demands our devotion from a distance while He does nothing. We are joining the God that humbled Himself to come to us, so that He can have us. We meet Him at the place of throwing everything definitively to the ground. If your eyes are not set on Jesus, you won’t want Him. If you don’t want Him, you won’t give up everything to follow Him. But when your eyes are set on Jesus, your affection to have Him will grow, because you will see how much He wanted you. And when your heart considers His love, you will say; “world, I’m not a part of your system” … and you will throw worldly treasures to the ground.
Throw Your Nets on the Ground
Matthew 4:18-22 – “18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
What if Jesus was an appraiser for the Antique Road Show? “Look Jesus, I found a spatula that was probably used by Betty Crocker. Please give me money for it so I can be happier in life.” Jesus would probably say something like; “You will not see anyone who owns this spatula seated at the right hand of God. Nor will anyone who cashes in on this spatula inherit the kingdom of God.” Jesus gets to the heart of things with people, essentially asking; why do you come to me to ask for things other than me?
Those who have the King inherit the kingdom of God.
Nets in our hands represent our means for being secure in the world. Nets bring in fish, and fish are marketable for income. Peter and Andrew were fishermen because they were hungry men, and to eat, they had to fish. No nets, no food. They had identities as fishermen. They had security as fishermen. It made sense for them to keep fishing, eating, and feeding families. But Jesus called them to throw their nets to the ground. And simultaneously offered them new identities as people who spend their lives reeling in people to know Jesus. It was a definitive moment in their lives; Nets = income and safety in this life, while following Jesus = throwing aside that weight to have the eternal God. In the process of following Him, He promises to give us everything we need. As Francis Chan would say; “even if He didn’t give us food every day, would it be that bad to show up in the presence of God for eternity having starved because we valued Jesus more than food?” Having Jesus ultimately defines what it means to have life.
New treasure, new identity, new purpose.
They took their nets, and threw them on the ground! A great evidence that their value system had transferred. They considered Him, they laid aside every weight, they had a joy set before them to lay hold of.
Will You Be Part of the System?
Where do you stand? As the world plunges more into consummating identities; republican vs. democrat, successful vs. unsuccessful, famous vs. despised, rich vs. poor… will you be defined by these things? Has Jesus captured your attention and affection in such a way that when He calls you, you will throw the worldly stuff you hold dear to the ground? Make no mistake, there are people that fool themselves thinking they can do both. They have not encountered Jesus yet. The Rich Young Ruler thought he could champ the religious lifestyle until he encountered Jesus. Jesus always makes it clear up front; you cannot hold on to the world, and hold on to Jesus. The contents in our hands reflect the values of our hearts. When Jesus approaches us, he does not ultimately test our hands, He tests our hearts. If Jesus has captured your heart, then you will take your worldly identity and throw it on the ground.
Don’t be part of the system that only lasts for this lifetime, which keeps you from laying hold of Jesus. Consider Jesus, and as He calls you to follow Him take your Betty Crocker spatula (Weight-loss wrap business, 401k… whatever) – and throw it on the ground!
For the #joysetbeforeme,