“A Better Possession” seems perhaps on first hearing an odd choice for the name of a blog, particularly a blog reflecting on Christian thought, life and ministry. But there is a good reason for it. True, it doesn’t at first sound particularly counter-cultural. If anything, it sounds a bit like a giving in to the materialism and consumerism of our society. But really, deep down it’s trying to say something deeply counter-cultural and is seeking to undermine those specific trends in the world we live in by pointing us to Jesus.
The point of this blog is for it to be a place to collect my own reflections on Christian life and thought. It’s also a place to collect the thoughts of others who have thought about these things before I got a chance to. And it’s also a place to collect and reflect on leadership “proverbs” I’ve picked up over the years. All with the goal of being helpful to at least me to keep clinging to Jesus as my only hope.
The phrase “A Better Possession” comes from Hebrews 10:34 where the writer urges his hearers to persevere in the faith and not to shrink back. And his strategy at this point is to remind them of their earlier behaviour and to push them to keep acting like that. And their earlier behaviour has always been striking to me.
32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
Particularly the phrase “joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property”. That always jumped right out off the page. And the reason they could act like that was equally stunning. They could joyfully accept the plundering of their property because they knew they had better and lasting possessions. Well that’s how the NIV puts it anyway. The ESV captures it a bit more closely when it says:
you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
What was plundered and confiscated from them was plural, but their reason for such counter-cultural behaviour was because of a single possession which was better. And since the whole point of the book is that Jesus is better, I think this is a reference to Jesus himself. Jesus himself is a possession better than every and any possession we might have or lose in this life.
And so this blog isn’t materialistic and consumerist. Well, at least no more than usual. This blog is about joyfully releasing what the world worships because Jesus is better.
And the passage where this comes from isn’t just about possessions. It’s also a beautiful view of the cost of true fellowship and self-sacrificial love that is resourced by the grasping of Jesus as a superior treasure. Superior to safety and security and comfort, and the grounds for deep fellowship and love that lays itself down for the other.
The passage isn’t really a picture of where me and my heart are at. It’s more a a picture of a place I’d desperately like to live someday. Where Jesus is such a superior treasure to me that I could joyfully accept ridicule and insult and persecution and plundering because Jesus is so much better.
It’s not where I’m at but it’s where I’d like to be.
And that’s what this blog is really about.