Devotion: The Bare Minimum

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Most of us want to know what is the bare minimum I need to do in order to be in heaven. Do I need to go to church…weekly? Do I need to give…10%? Do I need to quit doing X? Do I need to believe Jesus is the only way to heaven? How good is good enough?

We want to know what is the minimum amount–so I can be “in” while extending the least amount of energy.

Most of us would prefer to live right at the edge of the fence. When we live at the edge, though, we are always wanting to push the boundary a bit further. It’s like my ministry to teenage boys who always wanted to know “how far is too far” with their girlfriends before irreparable damage results.

Living on the edge, however, leaves no margin for error.

Imagine asking your spouse: what’s the bare minimum I need to love you? Or your boss–what’s the bare minimum amount of work I need to do to stay employed? Or your kids–what’s the bare minimum amount of time I need to spend with you? You would never ask that of them, but subtly that is what we want to know from God.

Doing the bare minimum, however, will leave you dangerously close to being left by your spouse, fired by your boss, and quiet frankly missing the delight of surrendering your life to God.

The bare minimum is uninspiring. The bare minimum requires the least amount of effort. It avoids anything that would cause struggle, effort or pain. Therefore, the bare minimum lacks courage, strength, boldness, sacrifice, goodness…living at the bare minimum is embarrassing.

Our world–with all its complexity, chaos, suffering and evil–was designed to be a training ground that would cause us to grow in our faith and dependence upon God. It would require us to return to God more and more. We are called to leave our lives of quiet desperation in order to stop doing the bare minimum and seek to glorify God in all that we say and do.

Rather than asking what more does God want from me, what if you asked what more can I give to Him?


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