Friday, January 26, 2018
Five Minute Friday: SURRENDER
Last night during the Five Minute Friday Twitter chat that happens every Thursday evening, our leader, Kate, asked which of two words we'd prefer to write on this week: SACRIFICE or SURRENDER.
I voted for sacrifice -- but I lost, as this post shows!
To me, surrender sounds so "Christian-y":
"All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give ... I surrender all ..."
"If only he'd surrender his life to Jesus, everything would change."
"We just have to surrender our own will and accept God's will."
It just seems like such a cliche. And because last week in my "intentional" post I'd written about writing my plans in pencil instead of pen -- which was kind of about surrendering my plans and intentions if circumstances change -- it seemed like it would be same-old-same-old to write about surrender this week.
Now, as for the word being too "Christian-y," Kate pointed out later that she actually thinks the word sacrifice is a more "Christian-y" word than surrender. So there you go.
In fact, while the word surrender does appear in the Bible, it's used almost exclusively in the sense of surrendering to an opposing power or surrendering a person up to the authorities. It only appears once in the New Testament: when Pilate releases Barabbas and surrenders Jesus to the will of the people (Luke 23:25).
It's never used in terms of surrendering our lives to Jesus or surrendering our will and desires.
Maybe I squirm at the word because it carries a sense of resignation or reluctance -- like when you ask a kid to do a chore and they respond with a big sigh that says, "OK fine, I'll do it; you're not exactly giving me a choice here." I want the concept to be more positive, more willing -- not just a grumpy "OK FINE, THEN."
But I suppose, in the example of Jesus being surrendered to the people, he wasn't just a passive, reluctant victim. Luke 22:42 records him saying, in the midst of his anguished prayer, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
This is really the ultimate surrender: Jesus isn't grudging or resentful, not heaving a self-pitying sigh and saying, "Well, I guess I don't have any say here, do I?" Instead, he's honest, realistic, willing, and determined. In his humanity, he is fearful and desolate -- but beneath that is a trust and a readiness to do whatever love requires.
Jesus shows us the truest, deepest meaning of surrender. Which, I guess, is pretty "Christian-y" after all.