Uncle!

As a child, my sister and I, as well as other friends, played the game “Uncle!”  The point of the game is this:  while facing the other person and interlocking their hands in yours in a hand death grip, you move in differing positions and show off your strength and cunning while inflicting pain upon the other person until you either hear something break, or they call out the word, “Uncle!”  The purpose of the game is simple:  to win.  The strongest survive while the weakest either go to the Dr. for a sprained wrist or humble themselves by crying out for mercy.  Why the game is called “Uncle,” I don’t know….but if you do, please comment below or offer suggestions…

Recently, I heard about a book called “Radical,” by Pastor David Blatt where he challenges people to follow Jesus.  In this book, he shares how the American dream is often in conflict with Jesus’ invitation to “Follow Me.”  Though some had chosen to do so, many others left when he challenged them with hard to understand teachings.  Jesus often tried to warn people that in following him, there would be a huge cost.  For some, the cost involved leaving family and friends, for others it would involve leaving occupations, and for one man, he was asked to give all of his wealth away.  Though the cost for following Jesus is great, the reward is even greater.

Although I have just started reading this book and am only a few chapters in, I can’t help but notice the challenge that is ever-present…”Will you give up your comforts, your occupation, your family, or wealth (or whatever God calls you to give up) to follow Jesus?”  Now giving up is not something I tend to do easily.  It goes against my pride that says “I can do it.”  I never did like crying out, Uncle!! I would hold on as long as I needed to until the pain in my body would shout louder than my pride.  Holding on would only result in more pain while humbling myself and crying Uncle would result in more freedom.

Why is that we choose to hold onto things that grip us and will eventually lead to more pain, or at least, a long-distance relationship to Christ?  When we hold onto these things, we are telling Jesus that these things are worth more than he is.  These things we hold onto can be the opinions of others, an addiction, bitterness, time, money, occupation, other people or relationships, etc.  And as we hold on, we cause ourselves more grief.  Our pride and self-centeredness refuses to give in and believe that giving up will be too costly and the rewards of surrender are not worth it.  Somehow, we cannot see (or trust) that just by crying Uncle!, we will gain so much more.    When we surrender to Christ, we don’t surrender as a prisoner of war to be tortured, but as a prisoner of Christ to be loved.

So what say you:  Is he worth it?  Is he worth crying Uncle! to?  Is he worth following?

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