GAMBIT! There it is, in one word, the very heart of Jesus' teaching. What is a gambit? It is a tricky maneuver whereby you sacrifice something of value in order to obtain something of greater value. In the game of chess, it is the intentional sacrifice of one piece in order to gain a strategic objective.
For Jesus, it is the sacrifice of this material world in order to inherit a place in God's Kingdom. Amazingly, our worldly opponents do not, can not, recognize this trick. Satan himself is powerless to defeat one who does it. Instead, Satan has his own tricks which we find difficult to resist, so it is usually he who wins. But, if you do understand what Jesus was trying to teach us, then you can trump Satan to call "Checkmate" for yourself.
It is quite an irony, isn't it, that Christianity preaches the very opposite from what Jesus taught? Our preachers tell us that if we are good religious Christians, then life will be prosperous and happy. Wrong! Jesus said that if we follow Him, then the things He experienced will happen to us, namely the path to Calvary and death. That is what He calls us to. That gambit is the only key to the ultimate victory; it is absolutely necessary; and He calls us to it from His great Love.
He calls us! Yes, many are called, but sadly, few make it to fulfillment. We are born with human instincts for survival; our human natures scream against the very idea of perishing; we will do nearly anything to save our lives. All worldly creatures are born with this natural instinct. And then, this guy named Jesus tells us to act against that? Inexplicable! It's no wonder that the liberals and other pseudo-intellectuals are anti-Christ. It is truly a wonder that Jesus has any followers at all, and an amazing wonder that millions of people claim to be following Him. Why do they do that? Well, here's why. Because Christian preachers don't teach the message which Jesus taught.
I am reminded of the verse in Zacharia 13:7, "Awake, O Sword, against my shepherds." When I hear a preacher on TV shouting his message with high emotion, I am stirred with angry passion that he is misleading so many listeners in his quest for personal wealth. Don't they know that God is real? And that there are consequences for teaching contrary to His Truth? Apparently not.
So few? I wail to God the question; why so few? It isn't the purpose of this article to address that particular question, but in the Bible God does make clear why so few will be chosen. He is a serious husbandman and culls out all those who refuse to carry their crosses up that difficult hill to the sacrifice which is the only key to His kingdom. Furthermore, Romans 9 makes clear that God creates some pots for special purpose and some for destruction. Jesus tells us that no one can come to the Father except the Holy Spirit motivate him to do so. All the others cannot make it. No matter that they practice a religion faithfully and tithe their incomes and call themselves by His Name; all those things don't win the prize. Only the ones whom the Holy Spirit motivates to seek the spiritual path and to understand the Truth will make it, and they are few. If you would be one of that few, then you must devote yourself to playing the GAMBIT with your own life, sacrificing your illusionary world life in order to gain the true Life which He offers.
You see, this idea of gambit is as old as Adam. It was Eve's two sons who were first on record to make sacrificial offerings to God. Abel offered the best of his flock while Cain offered harvest from his field. Many centuries later, we see Abraam offering up his precious son who was born in Sara's old age and who was the only hope for fulfilling God's promise of descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. Throughout the Old Testament period, sacrificial offerings were made in order to repent of their sins. Most people have probably wondered why God would want anything or anyone killed, as though to satisfy Him. Atheists accuse our God of being sadistic. And finally, why did our Almighty Father want His only Son killed? Gambit! That's why.
It is only by the death of this world, and of all its treasures, and of our love of things, and of our own lives also, that the Kingdom of God can be born. It is only by the death of a seed that a new plant can be born. Simply, we cannot hang onto this wicked kingdom of World if we would graduate into God's Kingdom. No, we must let it go; we must let it perish; we must disconnect our affection from it and walk up Calvary's hill to our final victory of releasing even our own lives. You might consider this general analogy; First Abraam offered up his most valuable treasure, his only son, and then later God offered up His only Son. Now, you can offer up your life by devoting it to expressing His will even to the death, and soon God will sacrifice most of this planet to the catastrophe described in Matthew 24. And keep in mind that God's angels will be rejoicing at this ultimate sacrifice. So, when the earth begins to quake and the sky begins to fall and your house is crashing to the ground, you can exult in great rejoicing --- instead of your heart failing in fear. The victory is achieved through this GAMBIT. Keep heart. Have faith. Rejoice. Welcome the sacrifice of your self and your world.
Friends, if we could but know what great treasures of God await us, then it would be easy to release this that we have known and loved. But, Alas; we can't know ahead of time. We must die, even joyfully like so many martyrs who went to the flames, simply because we believe that God is real and that His promises are real and that He calls us to do it. Like a soldier committed to his cause, one must walk into certain death for sake of victory. Jesus gave us the words which can convince us that this life is not our highest treasure, but that we should trust our Father to fulfill His promises to us. We must do it from our love of Him, without knowing there will even be a reward.
When one realizes how God's program really works, then the so-called "sacrifice" of world and of life doesn't seem like a sacrifice at all, does it? How do you feel about that? Is your love of your Father so great that you will do what He asks simply because He asks it, or do you need some kind of proof first? Following is a short story about a little girl who loved her necklace and felt reluctant to part with it. Can you identify with this little girl?
The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. "Oh Mommy please, Mommy, Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please."
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girlís upturned face.
"A dollar ninety-five. Thatís almost $2. If you really want them, Iíll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthdayís only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."
As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.
Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, Sunday School, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet they might turn her neck green.
Jenny had a very loving daddy, and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night as he finished the story, he asked, "Jenny, do you love me?"
"Oh yes, daddy. You know that I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh, daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, daddy? The one you gave me. Sheís my very favorite."
"Thatís okay, Honey, daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss. About a week later, after story time, Jennyís daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"
"Daddy, you know I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."
"Thatís okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
A few nights later when he came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.
"What is it Jenny? Whatís the matter?"
Jenny didnít say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a quiver, she finally said, "Here, daddy, this is for you."
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jennyís daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.
He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure. So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the world trash so He can give us the Heavenly Kingdom. (Author unknown)
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