Turn Right to Go Left.
Remember the Pixar movie “Cars”? It's a fun kid’s movie about sentient cars, more specifically a race car named Lightning McQueen. McQueen is your typical arrogant hot shot who thinks he is the best thing that has happened to the world. There is a scene in a movie where he gets beat in a race by an old worn out race car named Doc. Doc was able to beat McQueen by drifting around a certain turn of the race track. In order to prove himself McQueen begins practicing trying to get the move down. Doc eventually comes to him and gives him some advice. He tells McQueen. “You must turn right in order to go left”. McQueen gets frustrated. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It kind of seems like the opposite of what you should do. I won’t spoil the rest of the movie if you haven’t seen it. This reminds me of the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10
As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’ “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
I’m sure this young man was thinking what Jesus said to him didn’t make any sense. He spent his whole life following God’s law and commandments and yet he still can’t have eternal life. And what does getting rid of all your stuff have to do with serving the Lord?
As we approach Easter I am reminded of Philippians 2:5-11 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privilegeshe took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus gave up His life in order to serve the Father. Not only did He give up His life, He gave it up in the most painful and humiliating way possible, death on a cross. We are commanded to have this same mindset. To be willing to give up. This is what Jesus was telling the young man. He looked at him and saw something that was keeping him from serving God the best he could. For the man it was possessions. For you it could be something else.
It seems backwards (kind of like turning right to go left), but In the economy of God when we give up, we gain. Not in the way the world expects. But in a way that has an eternal impact. As you are reading this, ask yourself, “What am I willing to give up?” “What is something that is keeping me from serving God the best I possibly can?”