Take It All
MARK: Take it All started when I was driving down the road and the melody idea came to me, we worked on it as a band but then played it for the producer of the album but he didn’t really like it. He challenged me a lot on the lyrics, which originally had the vibe of Isaiah’s cry, ‘Here I am, Lord’ but as I kept re-working it the theme became more of a cry out to God with a sense of frustration- being in the studio for so long in L.A. was quite frustrating, and the song was almost a plea to God saying ‘I’m at the end of my rope’ and ‘take it all, God, because I can’t take it any longer’. It’s a song about giving life up to God, often I’ll try to hold onto things and use my own talents and strengths to get by. So the song came from me realizing that I’m not in control but God is in control, so I want to give everything over to Him. I guess the strength of the song is a real testament to Howard, the producer, because he kept pushing me on those lyrics!
DAVID: God wants everything from us. It is all His anyhow but there is joy and blessing when we hold our lives open handedly. Sometimes we are forced to do so by our own brokenness. There is something so beautiful about surrender, when God gladly takes from us what we cannot take any longer.
The Cost of Discipleship.
Have you ever realized that although salvation is the free gift of God, and that none of us can ever do enough to pay for our salvation, there is a cost to discipleship. Jesus paid the price for you on the cross, by willingly laying down His life. To bring you back to God, Jesus hung on a cross and said to His heavenly Father ‘take it all’ for the sake of the world. Truly following Jesus and living lives that glorify him will be costly. In Luke 14 Jesus talks to His disciples and uses the examples of a man building a tower and a king going off to war. He explains that in both of these situations, a careful estimate of the cost involved is necessary for success. He concludes by saying that ‘ in the same way, any of you who does not give up everything cannot be my disciple.’ (Luke 14:33)
On another occasion Jesus tells two very short parables to help explain the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13.44-46). One of the parables concerns a laborer who finds buried treasure in a field, and the other parable concerns a merchant who discovers a pearl like no other he has seen. Both men go off to sell all their belongings in order to buy the riches they have discovered. If you have heard those parable before you might have thought that the behavior of these two men is extraordinary. They give up EVERYTHING they owned in order to obtain a treasure.
We read these parables and more often than not concentrate on the cost and not the reward. Both men truly believed that what they were getting was a bargain of a lifetime otherwise they wouldn’t have gone off and willingly sold all they had. Giving all might have been expensive, but the reward was worth it! That’s what Jesus meant when he told these parables. Living in the kingdom of God is a costly business, but it’s worth it! The reward is a fulfilled life of joy and peace now and a glorious eternity with the Lord. To truly appreciate and live in the fullness of that reward your response has to be total. You have to be willing to say to Jesus ‘take it all’ in order to enjoy the reward of kingdom living. The cost of discipleship is truly everything, but the reward is eternally greater.
MARY THE MOTHER OF JESUS—WILLINGLY GIVING ALL
Read about the birth of Jesus foretold in Luke 1:26-38
Can you imagine being Mary and receiving that visit from the angel Gabriel? In one short conversation her life was set on a dramatically new path as a chosen instrument in God’s plan for the redemption of the world. The initial circumstances were to be daunting to say the least. Mary was engaged but not yet married. She would become pregnant and give birth to the Son of the Most High, and even more incredibly she’d become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. No wonder the angel’s first words to Mary were:
“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28, NIV).
And no wonder too that Mary’s initial response, even just to that greeting, was one of being troubled. Mary would soon discover the immensity of these words from the angel. After hearing from Gabriel about the coming of the Messiah, Mary responds not so much with disbelief as a sense of awe and wonder at the prospect of what he has said coming to pass. All of the way through the encounter, Mary could have replied ‘you must be joking if you think I’m going to get involved in all of this by having an illegitimate child, bringing disgrace to my husband to be, and being an outcast in my community. No thanks!’
Once Mary had grasped the enormity of her part in God’s plan and realised the privilege that had been given to her, she knew that it was all or nothing. No more was her life her own, it was to be dedicated to serving God and her final words to the angel reflect her decision:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38, NIV).
It is not too long after this that we read Mary’s song—words of praise and honor to the Lord that commit Mary humbly and completely to the task ahead. Mary was obedient and ready to serve, but she knew that God would have to be with her and have to be in control. She willingly gave her life over to the destiny God had called her and recognized too that because of her privilege and her willingness to obey, future generations would call her blessed. By willingly giving of herself she was being given the opportunity of giving birth to the Savior, and of taking her place in history. Her husband Joseph, had a similar encounter with an angel of the Lord in a dream, and his response was also obedience. If you read the story in Matthew 1:18-25, you’ll see that Joseph did what the angel of the Lord commanded.
Mary and Joseph were not just giving a couple of weeks of their life to God, not just their firstborn child, or their marriage, they were giving everything. Their lives would never be the same again. Even in the 30 years when Jesus lived with them before He began His ministry, Mary was mothering the Son of God. Mary would experience Jesus’ first miracle—in fact she initiated it, by asking Jesus to do something about the lack of wine at a wedding. She was with Him throughout his ministry, even at the cross, and would eventually still be part of the community of disciples after Jesus had come back to life and was taken up to Heaven.
Every generation needs people like Mary. People ready to receive revelation from God and say ‘ I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.’ Are you one of those people?
Old School Third Day- Listen to ‘Take My Life’ from Offerings 2
Written by Pastor Nigel James