Caught between a rock and a hard place
Have you been in a circumstance where no matter which way you turn, it’s still hard? You are trapped, caught, stuck “between a rock and a hard place,” and it’s extremely uncomfortable!
This old idiom confirms any circumstance where you face equal unsatisfactory options for an outcome. Basically meaning… you’re in a no-win situation, my friend.
No-win situations stink!
Especially stinky, when your situation produces hard consequences, not of your own making. When you are required to pay a harsh penalty for someone else’s selfish, immoral or illegal choices –this just seems wrong, doesn’t it?
Nevertheless, you may find yourself today right in the middle of a hard place, a really hard place… where you can lose. It. all!
The Bible tells a story in Luke 18. I’m sure you’ve heard it. It’s the one about the young rich man.
We listen to this sermon, or read these familiar verses –nod our heads. Then, we label this wise resource, placing it in the “love of money” folder. We keep it handy, in case we should ever find ourselves with more money than we can use. Our brain retains the message, yet misses the point entirely.
We’d be wise to pull out this folder, dust it off and take a second look –because this lesson is about so much more.
This rich young man asks Jesus, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus tells him, “…keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus gives him the short list:
- you shall not murder
- you shall not commit adultery
- you shall not steal
- you shall not give false testimony
- honor your father and mother
- love your neighbor as yourself
Looks like the young rich man is a shoo-in for the pearly gates, since he has kept all these rules his entire life. And as a result, this guy is way up on the corporate ladder. He receives a good wage for his efforts. He is responsible with his money. Pays his bills. Helps his neighbor(s). He goes to church. Gives his tithes. Serves as a Deacon. He has a good sense of humor. A man of great reputation. His credit score is pristine. His 401K, life insurance, a burial plan are well ordered. He has a growing college fund for his three kids. His personal gym provides means to stay physically fit. He adores and cares for his beautiful wife. He never forgets to walk his golden retriever, named Lucky.
Life is good –right?
Knowing these things about himself, really his next question for Jesus is more of a lure for affirmation, as he fishes for a complement –a nod and a pat on the back from the big boss.
So that’s it then, Jesus? I’m good to go – right… all. the. way?
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”
Boom! There it is. Did you hear the thud! This guy just fell hard (from a lofty position) right down in between a rock and a hard place.
We don’t know why Jesus requires this sacrifice from the man. Perhaps Jesus wants to prepare him for something he will face on the road ahead. Maybe it is a matter of wasted talent. Jesus wants to put to better use elsewhere. Maybe Jesus just wants to spend more time with the guy, and the wealth is distracting. We don’t know.
The rich guy doesn’t understand either. I’m sorry –what Jesus? I’m not sure I heard you correctly?
You want to take away everything I’ve worked for? You want to wipe away all my dreams, my vision, and my life plan. MY identity?
The Bible says, the young rich man went away, sad, sorrowful, grieving. That is just too much to lose.
Thanks, but no thanks, Jesus.
One thing for sure, this lesson is not about money.
It’s about reality’s raspy whisper saying, “Moving forward from this is utterly impossible!”
It’s about the huge lump of fear lodged tightly in your throat, at the very thought of it.
This is a lesson about giving up your “everything.”
Here’s the part we seem to always skim over.
In our brokenness, shock, anger, disappointment, bitterness and depression we just “go away sad.” We don’t wait around long enough to hear the answer to the question our heart cries. “You want to take my ‘everything’, Jesus?”
No Sir, I truly do not, but the thief does.
No Sir, I will not … but the drunk driver will.
No Sir, not I, but the diagnosis…
No Sir, but the tornado…
No, but the accident…
No, but the …
Here’s the point.
We will all get caught! There is a rock and a hard place with our name on it.
But the hardest place of all isn’t when you’re stuck in the reality of your greatest fear. The hard place is when you miss the truth about the only rock that can break you free from it (Psalm 18:2).
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this (situation) IS impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).
You see, the rich guy missed it too! It’s not about money, but it surely is about wise investments. It’s about where you deposit your faith. Where are you storing your treasure? Who you trust with your “Now what?”
If you want to insure your assets, if you want to prevent losing “everything,” then set up a living irrevocable trust fund. May I suggest you consider Jesus as your Trustee? I hear he gives great returns on investment.
Guaranteed! (Matt. 6:19-21)