I never really cared for reading Stephen King until earlier this year when my wife talked me in to reading one of his books. To be honest he didn’t fit my normal genre of fiction reading; I prefer apocalyptic adventure. In the last one I read Stephen King, who considers himself to be agnostic, unknowingly taught a lesson about following Christ.
My wife started me out on his book Black House, then later I read his book On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft (which if you are a writer you need to read), and the last one I read was the prequel to Black House called The Talisman.
Here’s a short backstory. There is a young man traveling across the United States and another realm that coincides called the territories to obtain an item called the talisman to save his mom. One specific line stuck out to me that I believe many of us can learn from and it applies directly to followers of Christ.
The line that stuck out to me was this,
You don’t own a thing unless you can give it up.
This line coincides with that whole backwards-paradoxical style of preaching that Jesus did.
You know the whole, “the first will be last and the last will be first,” thing.
It Begins With Us
Jesus told us,
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. – Matthew 16:25 (again in Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24)
If you truly want to gain new life, and the Zoe life, (the highest life) we must lay ours down. The self and the outer man must die for Christ to live. Not only must we deny the ‘self’, He must live the Christian life through us. He must seep out of our lives as perfume from a broken vessel.
There is no new life, no Zoe life unless we die to self first.
What We Have
One lesson every follower of Christ must learn is that what we have was never ours to begin with. What we have is from the Lord. It doesn’t matter if it is money, ability, talent, health, life, or belongings. What we have belongs to the Lord.
When we hold on to it, it has power over us. Remember if you will the story of the rich young ruler.
And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. – Matthew 19:16-22
To gain the rich young ruler had to give it up.
What we have gains more power when we realize it was never ours to begin with. Everything we have is from the Lord, and must be consecrated to Him. The minute we release control and possession, is the minute we become free and the object whether it be money, goods, or talent is able to accomplish its intended purpose for the kingdom.
Next time you are reading look for lessons on following the Lord, even in fiction books. Stephen King taught a valuable lesson about following Christ and he may not have even known it. Just remember, you don’t own a thing unless you can give it up.