Thrive: Enter Life – Lauren Brewer Bass

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
—Matthew 18:7-9

Jesus often confused people. These words confused his listeners then and continue to confuse us today. To smooth out that confusion, most people decide that Jesus was using hyperbole, exaggeration, to make a point. But was he exaggerating? And what was his point?

We read these verses, usually “hearing” Jesus as a fire and brimstone preacher, warning us not to end up in that pit of fire. But after Jesus finished speaking, the folks stood there, confused by that fiery lakeshore.

But perhaps Jesus was saying something more. I think Jesus was saying that it is better to enter life. Life is better! Chose life and do whatever it takes to allow real, full, now, and eternal life to begin. Is your arm in the way of real life? Cut that sucker off. Your eyes? Real life, full of love and forgiveness, grace and community, courage and communion, will not miss them. It’s so much better to enter life. Toss out what is in the way.

Is it your stuff? Downsize. Invite people in to share what you have. Does your technology cause you to sin? It’s better to unplug and enter life. Does you busyness keep you stumbling? Say no to whatever takes too much of you and your time. Addicted to status? To fashion? To comfort? Quit, throw away, rip off, give away, invite in whatever it takes—even if it’s drastic.

It’s better to enter into life.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. —John 10:10

IFLauren Brewer Bass has worked with a refugee resettlement agency, on staff at a church, with nonprofits that assist individuals experiencing homelessness, and on staff at an outdoor adventure company. She has traveled to 41 countries, including Spain where she walked a 500-mile pilgrimage across the Iberian Peninsula. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Logsdon Seminary in Abilene, Texas, and currently lives and works in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, David, where she writes, gardens, and drinks too much coffee.

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