Everything

Balian: What is Jerusalem worth to you?
Saladin: Nothing, Everything.

In “Kingdom of Heaven” the Kingdom of Jerusalem has changed hands repeatedly.  Balian, a young French country blacksmith is now leading the defense of the kingdom against the Muslim leader Saladin looking to reclaim the territory.  Saladin’s men are about to lay siege to the city and Balian meets him privately to test his resolve.

Clearly Saladin is letting Balian know, in no uncertain terms, that he would risk all, including his life and those of his men, to reclaim that kingdom.  As Bruce Cockburn says, 

“Nothing worth having comes without some kind of a fight.”

I’m having an increasing number of conversations with people being stirred to something grander with their lives.  It is sometimes around an awakened passion or desire to launch something new and different.  It is often about charting a more purposeful or inspired path for the their marriages, families, or businesses.

I’ve found myself inserting the following thought into nearly every conversation…

“It is going to cost you everything to receive everything.”

Essentially, you are going to have to risk everything you have found safety and security in (apart from God) if you are going to receive everything intended for you (with God).  Exchange the kingdom we have establish for the one He intends.  Reject comfort, certainty, and likely passivity, for the adventure of an exciting unknown.

Does something in your heart rise at the thought of that?

If it did, watch how quickly it was opposed.

One of the most terrifying things I ever witnessed was a young family selling everything they owned to move to Africa with their two small boys on a missionary journey.  The mostly affluent class my wife and I led was sending them off one Sunday from our local church.  I identified the fear I felt with the class and many of them acknowledged the same.

What would we have to give up if we wanted to seriously follow God?

Nothing.  Everything.

It is a bit paradoxical.  When I started to get clear on the intended purpose for my life, it felt like I was giving up everything to receive what appeared to be nothing.  At least in the way the world around me measured stuff.  (May old Saladin was onto something.)

In retrospect, however, I actually gave up nothing to receive everything.  Despite what my greatest fears might have hinted at, I am not stumbling around unemployed, wearing sackcloth and ashes, or subsisting on a diet of locusts and honey.  In fact, the casual observer may not see too much different about my life.

But boy is it different.

"If you do not cut the mooring, God will have to break them by a storm and send you out.  Launch all on God, go out on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and you will get your eyes open." 
Oswald Chambers

God’s intention for your life was written there before you formed a cognitive thought.  There is a glory to your life that is merely the proclamation of His glory in a particular way that no other creature can represent.  Pursuing that treasure is going to feel like you are risking everything, but if you have the courage to take that journey, you will realize that you are really risking nothing to gain everything.

Not nothing for everything.
Or even everything for everything.
But actually, nothing for everything.

That discontent and unsettledness you feel is about something more than your work life not being quite what you would want.  It is about something bigger than not having enough saved for retirement, there not being as much passion in your marriage as you would like, or the kids not seeming to be headed in the right direction.

Is the beckoning of a loving and merciful God.  Not for you to abandon everything for nothing, but to be willing to risk nothing to receive his everything.  To live an intended and possibly unknown life, that you would likely risk everything for if you understood and believed.

Why not make 2017 the year where you quit treating the symptoms of you discontent and attack the root?  Where you chart new purpose for your life and organization.  I’ve committed my life to helping people find that treasure in the field.  It is my favorite thing to talk about.  Let me know if you are up to the conversation.

  • Do you feel settled and content?  Like everything is as it should be?
  • Do you often get that feeling that there has to be more to your life or the byproduct of your business that what you are realizing?
  • The necessary recipe for change is: the acknowledgement of that discontent, the desire to do something about, and the openness to being coached or challenged by another.  Is that you?