What is the one thing in life you couldn’t possibly do without?
I don’t know about you, but I found Covid lockdown brought with it a stripping away of much of my ‘dependants’, much of my ‘necessities’.
It exposed that a lot of what we assume we need, from eggs and sugar to time to ourselves or with others, were more luxuries and gifts than essential necessities. Much of what we filled our lives with pre-lockdwon, from time at the gym, regular summer holidays, after school activities, family weekend trips, proved themselves to be very changeable and transient, a far cry from fixed, dependable routines.
In our house, there were many tears shed over closed playgrounds, and frustrations felt when empty supermarket shelves required a change to staple breakfasts. In the beginning, we waxed lyrical about appreciating basic things and thought we had smugly grasped the difference things made to our lives. We thought we had grasped the worth of things: the value of family time together, of health and safety of loved ones. Lockdown gave perspective, it helped us grasp the worth of what truly matters.
In reality, much of my initial frustration at pretty low grade daily inconvenience, led not so much to a grasping of the worth of the simple things but a grasping onto the comfort they brought. So when they were taken away, other things just came in to replace.
Playgrounds were substituted for fun adventures in the woods and nature reserves, explorations into new trails; Lack of certain ingredients in the supermarkets meant adapting old recipes, and often gave better and more satisfying results. What once had worth and value and meaning is exchanged, upgraded, substituted.
Do we grasp the worth of what we say we value in life? Or are substitutes just brought in to replace? We essentially spend our lives viewing experiences and our possessions as commodities, as optional extras, very changeable and adaptable to suit our new needs. Grasping the worth of something often necessitates and reveals our disregard of an old, out of date, or unattainable old routine, product or even relationship.
We are shamefully unpracticed in grasping the worth of other.
That actually isn’t the worst habit when it comes to things that are truly transient, that do have limited and temporary worth. The problem comes however that we allow this habit of substitution, replacement, grasping at the next thing, to spill into our lives with Christ.
I wonder whether, like me, you find yourself often shamefully ill practiced at grasping the worth of Christ?
We struggle to allow ourselves to search our hearts and deeply consider the difference he makes to our lives. We are a people who substitute, who forget value, who despise and subjectively distort the worth of things and people to suit our own needs and situations. We desperately need help to consider the surpassing worth of Christ and cling on to that without allowing substitution and new comforts to replace or come in as optional extras.
To grasp the worth of Christ, we need to acknowledge our need for His grasp on us.
The One whose worth we need to grasp is mercifully the One who came down to take hold of us, to join us to Himself, to grasp onto our hearts and join us to Him. He will not let His hold on us go and his grip on us will lead us safely to our eternal home with Him.
Calvin says this:
“Christ was given us by God’s generosity, to be grasped and possessed by us in faith”
Christ was given. So receive the gift of Christ himself. Ask him for faith in Him! We can ask Him to change our wondering, distracted, substituting and fickle hearts to grasp his worth and significance.
And He will.
Jesus doesn’t offer Himself to us an optional extra, a replaceable or adaptable new value in life, or even a better perspective until a new one comes along. No, Jesus is not the means to get to the goal. He is the end of our searching, the worth that surpasses all others, the only One who gives value and meaning to all else He graciously gives us to enjoy. Once we’ve grasped Him, we have grasped the One who is the most excellent, the most beautiful, the most worthy, the most satisfying and comforting.
We need Christ to grasp Christ. This takes humility, an admission of our inability to grasp him. This requires us to cast ourselves down before him. But we cast ourselves down before the One who will never cast us out, who promises to hold on to us until the day we meet him face to face.
Grasp Jesus. Grasp the One whose surpassing worth will satisfy your heart, guard you and keep you, who grasps you in His saving arms, sustaining you until the day you begin eternity with him, worshipping Him as the One who alone is worthy of all praise and honour and glory.