By Rebecca Holloway
PINEVILLE, La. – For years, I have read and heard the statement, “We need to hold life/our family/our possessions with an open hand.” The idea is that we are not in control of our lives or anything else on this planet. God is in complete control of all things and has the power and right to change things on a moment’s notice. As believers, we are to keep our hands open in surrender, knowing that He knows what is best for us at any given time.
Frankly, I have always hated that statement.
Probably because I have control issues.
But this whole principle has come back to bite me here lately. In recent days, I have realized how tightly I was holding on to all of these things – especially when it comes to my stuff.
First, we moved into our dream house in August of last year. The night we moved in, I fell on my face in worship before God and praised Him for giving us our house. We had seen His hand in every single moment of the purchase of the new house and the sale of our old house. We knew this was His will for our family. We have tried to be very “open handed” with our home and have already used it several times for ministry. But in the space of the 10 months we’ve been in this house, I have heard of two ministry families that have built or bought their dream house and then God promptly moved them on to new assignments. Both times I felt sick at my stomach. I have told Stewart many times that I am not moving from this house. One of those times Stewart replied, “So is this house your idol?” Ouch.
Second, we just recently bought a minivan. And it was not just any minivan. It was the top of the line, bougieiest of minivans, which caused Zach’s best buddy Anna to name the van “Bougie.” It does everything. It literally can drive itself. No joke. If you’re on the interstate, you can take your hands off the wheel for a short period of time, and it will drive itself. I loved this van. It was just what we needed – especially with Evan’s wheelchair.
Well, you might have guessed it. “Pride goeth before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) Stewart drove it to Texas for a funeral and wrecked it. What made it worse was the fact that I said before he left, “don’t wreck my van!” I was so angry when he called me and told me the news I could barely see. But then I had to check myself and remember it was just an object. What was more important was that he and the other passengers were okay.
I guess what the Lord has been saying to me is that I need to take “open handedness” seriously. It is actually a spiritual practice that we all need to learn. My life, my family, my possessions are not my own. They all belong to God and they are under His control. We have to surrender all to Him and know that He has good in mind for us. (Romans 8:28) And we must use what we have been given to serve Him and glorify Him.
As I said, we use our house for ministry as much as possible. My minivan was actually being used for ministry when it was wrecked. Stewart had taken part in a funeral, but he had brought along two young men and Zach. Those hours in the car were times of pouring wisdom into those guys. (And also a lot of laughing, too!)
Be open handed with your life and your stuff. You never know when God might use it all for something greater!
“Do not boast so proudly, or let arrogant words come out of your mouth, for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and actions are weighed by him.”
– 1 Samuel 2:3 CSB
Rebecca Holloway is the wife of Stewart Holloway, pastor of First Baptist Church, Pineville. This editorial first appeared on her One Minute Blog.