and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”
Luke 9:25 (NIV)
An article detailing a unique way to capture monkeys alive and unharmed in the jungle to deliver to zoos captured my attention. Trappers had tried a number of different devices, including nets. But their concern that the small animals could be hurt if they became entangled in the webbing resulted in a clever solution.
Trappers built several small boxes and inside each one placed a banana. Each box was nailed shut but not before a hole was drilled on one side, just large enough for a monkey to reach in with its hand. The boxes were left on the ground around trees.
The monkeys quickly converged to examine the boxes. Finding a banana in each one, they immediately reached in to pull it out. They tugged and pulled on the banana but it wouldn’t budge. The opening was just big enough for a little hand to reach in but not for a little hand clinging tightly to a banana to come out.
As soon as the trappers returned, the monkeys immediately tried to flee but could not. The reason? They would not let go of the bananas! They would scream and screech and twist and pull as they attempted to escape. All they had to do was let go of the banana…. but they refused to and were captured.
I see myself in that article. That box represents this world that we live in. And while it is not a banana that I want to hold on to with all my strength it’s much worse: it is a hunger for happiness.
Happiness that I think I will only have if I am wealthy or have a bigger home or newer car or maybe even a more important career. It’s power and prestige and prominence in the community. THAT’S what will make me happy I shout!
And all the while Jesus is calling to me “Let go. It is nothing compared to what I have to offer you. It’s a trap!” but I keep holding on and pulling and tugging as I convince myself that happiness exists when I have a firm grip on all those earthly things.
Consider this: if the trappers did not come back and the monkey continued to hold on to the banana, he would soon find that it would begin to spoil and rot and would not be anything that he would even consider eating. That is, unless he is eaten by the wild animals around him as he holds on to nothing. So it is with me and my grip on all the empty promises of this world
Holding on to the temporary as if it is priceless will never have a good outcome. Just as there is a part of us that wants to yell “Let go of the banana!” after reading the article, even more so the Lord is prompting us to let go of the fake possessions here on earth and focus on the priceless treasures He has prepared for us in heaven.
Father, forgive me for focusing on the temporary things of this world instead of what you are offering me: life for eternity with you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
R.A.P. it up . . .
What are you holding on to in your life because you consider it to be important to your happiness?
How does it compare to what Jesus is offering you?
Make a list of everything in this world that you consider most important in your life.
Next to each entry, journal what Jesus offers you instead and a Scripture that speaks to His offer.
Luke 9:25 (NIV) “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”
I John 2:15 (NIV) “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Colossians 3:2 (NIV) “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”
Matthew 6:33 (NIV) “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Ecclesiastes 2:11 (NIV) “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)