Two Hands and Three Foods

A few weeks ago, in “A Handful of Melon Seeds”,  we referred to a “monkey trap,” in which a man in the Kalahari used a handful of melon seeds to trap a baboon.  The point was that our grasp on the things of this world enslaves us.  This week, I’d like to talk about the related effect that this grasping to our old ways has – denying us the blessings God has for us.  To do that, I’d like to use another illustration incorporating a primate, this time the “Slow Loris.”

Some of you may have seen the “I have two hands and three foods” image above as a meme or video floating around the Internet.  The Loris – a small primate with a very worried-looking face – appears to be in a dilemma.  It has been offered a treat, but its two hands are already full.  It knows it wants the treat, but it can’t take it unless it releases its grasp on the things it already has.

We can look at this in a few ways.  But as we consider this week’s passage, Luke 19:1-10, we learn that a wealthy chief tax collector named Zacchaeus encounters Jesus, who invites himself into Zacchaeus’ home.  During that visit (likely during a meal), Zacchaeus is overcome with conviction – not just of who Zacchaeus is and what has done, but also of who Jesus is – and as a result, he stands up, immediately gives away half of his wealth, and furthermore commits to reconciling with those whom he has defrauded.  In effect, Zacchaeus loosens his grip on his “two foods” he holds in this world to accept the gift of salvation Jesus offers.  We can compare this with the parable of “the pearl of great price” (Matthew 13:45-46).  In both cases, the person in the story realizes he must give up what he has to take hold of what is truly valuable.  As you reflect on Zacchaeus and the pearl of great price, consider these questions:

  1. What is the difference (or is there one) between letting go of something to escape its hold on you, and letting go of something to be able to receive something better?
  2. Do you have a story to share about how letting go of something you valued, pursued, wanted, or even thought you needed changed your life for the better?
  3. What are you still clinging to that you need to release in order to take hold of the good gifts – the perfect gifts – that come from God?
  4. With whom will you share these thoughts this week?
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