The Tilt-A-Whirl and the Illusion of Control

(Today's post by Tim David)

John 11:45 – 12:19

The Tilt-A-Whirl, I used to love it, now I hate it. My kids, unfortunately, have somehow sprouted up to be “tall” enough to go on this death trap. Let’s be honest, carnivals don’t hire “top talent” to operate their shindigs. Look, I know you can grab that grimy wheel in the middle of the “car,” and attempt to control the spin, but that’s when the grinning sadist decides to kick the thing in overdrive trying to test that overused spindle that’s keeping you from launching. Frankly speaking, there are many rides I don’t participate in because of the lack of control I feel. Then there’s the loss of my sanity as the kids start building their case why I need to join them on their insane ventures. Eventually, I end up giving in (which I should have just done to begin with) but only after losing my temper, threatening to leave, trying to give away their ride tickets –in order to preserve control, I’m usually willing to sacrifice everyone’s emotional well being.

As insane as this may seem, keeping control of our lives is just as moronic. We love to say, we’ve given control of our lives to God; but the general practice is to keep control just up to the point we’re near the end of a nose dive. Spiritually speaking, the “game” of control looks a little like Hot Potato. When things are going great…we’re in control – when things turn ugly, “God, why did you allow this to happen? You need to fix this.” Futilely “giving” God control – when the fact is, He’s always in control…whether we want to acknowledge it or not.

So, what will someone sacrifice for control?

1. Caiaphas – he is willing to sacrifice the possible Messiah for protection. Take a look at John 11:50, “You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” He isn’t saying, at this point, that Jesus isn’t the Messiah. From this passage, it looks like he’s not really convinced either way, but if Jesus lives…the Romans could obliterate them. He certainly didn’t trust that Jesus would over throw the Romans, so in an effort to control the people and keep the peace; he is will to sacrifice the Messiah. Then in a further grasp for control – he decides that they need to “knock off” Lazarus as well. (John 12:10).

2. Judas – he is willing to sacrifice the honor due the Messiah. I don’t know that Judas ever didn’t believe that Jesus was who He was, he (Judas) loved money more. Judas was willing to sacrifice this act of honor to get his hands on just a bit more money. There is literally nothing Judas would sacrifice for money. Here all he did was sacrifice a bit of dignity in saying what he did. Honestly, I would love to have heard what everyone else was thinking when Mary performed this act of gratitude.

Then there’s Jesus – in complete control, sacrificing Himself and fulfilling the prophesies. How could the only person who had complete control, give it up? That I think is the most sobering reality here – Jesus could have chosen not to follow through with this. He had ultimate control…but He relinquished it. He didn’t sacrifice a single thing in order to gain it, yet He sacrificed everything by giving it up.

So I ask – what are you sacrificing for control? Or are you in control by relinquishing the responsibility of your control?

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