Here's where the beginning starts, you stop expecting. What?! No hope, no ambition, no reward?! No that's not quite it. No entitlement, no vanity, no settling for less than the best. Let me explain.
There was a rich young man who wanted to inherit the kingdom of God. He lived a virtuous life and loved the Lord and his fellow man. He was told in order to inherit, he needed to leave behind all his riches. Luke 18: 18-27 Often, the story is left in the middle when the young man leaves sorrowing for, "he had great possessions." Leaving the masses under the superstition that he didn't do as he was asked. It is difficult to do what is expected when we are asked to leave so much behind. But isn't faith stretching, reaching out to something better? The scripture says, with God nothing is impossible.
Isn't it obvious that something need be left behind in order to not carry a burden when we are yoked with him. (Matt 11: 28-30) What does He require that we leave behind? To paraphrase, "On the path of life, sin is the only acceptable thing to litter." Let me share a few personal experiences that demonstrate my relationship with the Lord.
It began one night as I knelt by my bed, seeking to know that path the Lord would have me take. The options as a young single woman were so immense that I found it impossible to make a decision. After an hour or more pleading to know the best route, the answer came in the form of a question, "What in your life keeps you from being closer to me?" So I asked myself what it was that I wanted more than to be with Our Father. Quickly I noticed my error. I wanted to be married more than anything. The only way I knew to ensure my not marrying (at least for a time) was to serve a full-time (18mo.) mission. (One of the rules no dating during that time.)
Then I wanted to go abroad. The Lord said state-side. Well at least I won't be eating Mexican... but then again I learned to love it. Having seen enough of TX I was happy to return home... only to marry someone from TX. Someone who hadn't yet completed his education and who was on my "just friends" list, are you seeing a pattern that He knows better? Children... complications in conceiving. How about a girl... I love my boys. At least I can get my education... though I'm married to an instructor, no discount. So, suffice it to say. I'm familiar with giving up on what I want. But having done so much of it, I've found I'm fiercely clinging to my last farthing Mark 12: 41-44.
So truly the test begins when we are stretched. It's hard to share the last Oreo. It's painful to give the last of our free time. It's excruciating to give the last bit of our dreams or hopes for sleep or having an adult conversation. But the promise in every sacrifice is for something better. The whole, salvation, becoming like our Savior... And so the invitation to strive to give up EVERYTHING we are, EVERYTHING we have, EVERY talent we possess, EVERY selfish desire, EVERY sin. But in return he promises that we can become like His son, having His image in our countenance Alma 5:14. Is there anything more blessed than to count ourselves able to bear His cross. Luke 14:27 and finish our refinement. To be made whole, perfect. Having given up everything in us that isn't divine. Through the process of letting go we make our hands free to hang onto Him, our Rock (Hel 5:12). And as we make ourselves one, we become like Him. What a beautiful cross to bear.
So what's your last farthing? Chocolate? Sleep? Personal time? A trip? A second toilet? Talk to Him, and "if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you." (Alma 32:27)