The Blank Check

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Every Wednesday, I go past a veteran’s memorial and underneath the flag is a piece of granite with these words. “A veteran: Someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check for an amount up to and including their life, made payable to the United States of America.”
When a person enters the armed forces, their future is unknown. Where will they be deployed? Will it be to a combat zone? Will they be injured? Will they return alive? What about their plans and dreams for the future? Will those hopes be forever changed because of what they experience in the service of their country?
As Christians, we face a similar commitment. God wants us to sign that blank check of our lives over to Him and let Him decide how He uses our lives. And there are a lot of things we don’t know when we make that commitment. But that is a commitment we make at conversion and one we make daily as well.
In Matthew 19:16-22, we have the story of a man who wanted confirmation that he was doing everything right; confirmation that he was following God. Apparently, in his heart, he sensed that something was missing. When Jesus touched what was closest to this young man’s heart, he couldn’t make that commitment to follow Christ all the way.
This man thought he was keeping the law. He thought he was doing what God wanted for his life. But in reality, he was breaking the first of the Ten Commandments— Thou shalt have no other gods before me. His wealth and his possessions were his gods. When Jesus told him, Give your wealth away and come follow me, he had a choice, and he chose riches over Jesus. He wasn’t ready to make that total commitment to God.
Now we can say, “I am not wealthy. I am not rich, so this story really does not apply to me.” This story, however, is about more than wealth. It is about anything that comes between God and us; anything we find hard to give up to follow Christ. It is about anything we value more than what God is asking us to do. Whenever we say “no” to God because something else is more important, no matter what that thing is, it has become our god. Often it is things that are right and necessary, but we place too much value on them.
These things are different for different ones of us. It could be money like this rich young ruler, but not necessarily. It could be our business or occupation. It could be our property or our family. It could be our reputation or our interpretation of the Bible. All things that have their place but should never take precedence over what God is calling us to.
And just like Jesus told this man what he needed to do when he asked, the Holy Spirit will show us what He wants for our life when we ask. And then we have the decision to make, “Are we going to follow Jesus, or follow what we want for our life?”
This can be frightening because we think, “What if God asks me to give up something that is too hard to give up? What if He asks me to give up more than anyone else?” These are real questions we have.
But think about this. When a person signs himself over to Uncle Sam, he trusts his life to a government who makes mistakes and wrong decisions. He hands himself over to an organization that has a very limited knowledge of the future, and cannot truly take care of him.
But when we sign our lives over to God, we are handing ourselves over to Someone we can trust; Someone Who knows everything about us. He knows the future, has our good in mind, and He loves us and cares for us. He never makes mistakes. And He doesn’t ask us to be willing to give up everything for Him, without giving us something in return. He rewards us for following Him, gives us peace, calls us His children, and gives us His presence. He promises to provide for us and also promises the reward of eternal life.
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life (Matt 19:29).