I heard something very interesting about monkeys and coconuts. And no, there’s not a Monty Python joke coming. Or a reference to any Animal Planet show currently airing.
I heard that a way to trap a spider monkey is to drill a hole in a coconut just big enough for its hand to fit in and put food in there. The little monkeys will reach in and grab the food, but with their hands in a fist clutching their prize, they can’t pull it out again.
The end result is either death or capture.
My first reaction is: aren’t those just greedy little monkeys?
My second is: what is so great about what they’re holding onto that they can’t let go?
Then I wonder how many times I’ve been trapped like that by holding onto something I don’t need to. Like a wound from my past. Or maybe a failure I can’t forgive myself for. Or maybe a selfish desire of mine.
Maybe you’re holding onto your idea of how your life should play out. Maybe it’s a relationship that’s toxic and hazardous to your health and your heart. Maybe it’s unforgiveness that keeps you up nights. It could be anything that takes the place of Jesus in your heart. Even good things.
Whatever it is, you can’t move forward until you let it go. You can’t be free unless you release your grasp of whatever it is that you’re white-knuckling.
I’m reminded of a story of a little girl whose father gave her some imitation pearls. She loved those pearls and wore them everywhere. She even slept in them. But one day her dad asked the unthinkable.
“Give me your pearls,” he said.
“No, Daddy. You can have anything else. My dollies, my stuffed animals, but not my pearls.”
So he let it go that night. But he asked again the next night. And the night after that.
Finally, with tears in her eyes, she said, “Yes, Daddy. You can have my pearls.”
With one hand he took the imitation pearls, and with the other he gave her a box containing very real and very expensive pearls. He had been waiting for her to let go of the imitation so she could have the real thing.
What are you holding onto that keeps you from receiving what God has for you? It may be a good thing, but if it keeps you from God’s best, let it go. If it keeps you from full devotion and obedience to Jesus, let it go.
Trust me, what you give up won’t even compare to what you get in compare. Or as a guy named Jim Elliot once said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”