The Stick in Your Hand

Welcome to Wednesday and to our discussion of Chapter 7 of Richard Stearns’ excellent book, The Hole in Our Gospel! My co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen and I thoroughly enjoy our discussions about this book and we welcome you to stay and discuss the topics each week, whether you’ve read the chapter or not. Each week, we provide a link widget (which you’ll find at the end of this post). We ask that if you’ve written your own post on this chapter, you link it up there. And we invite and encourage you to read each of the entries there because we have such great contributors! We hope you enjoy the discussions and we hope you keep coming back to take part!

If you have not purchased your book, but still wish to, today I learned that Christian Book Distributors has them on sale for $5.00 each for a limited time. I’ve provided that link if you’d like to take a look.

With those housekeeping items out of the way, let’s continue with the discussion!

In Chapter 7, “The Stick in Your Hand,” Richard Stearns brings up something that’s very important for us to consider. For me, it translates in a loose, simplified way to the fact that we have to let go of the things we don’t need and probably shouldn’t have anyway to take up the task that’s before us. This is a very convicting thought, especially for folks like me that hate to let go of anything. But Stearns correctly points out that the harder we hold on to something, the harder it holds on to us. And that’s a dangerous, idolatrous place to be.

I could give a lot of examples from my own life, but when I began to think and pray about this, the example God gave me to look at was David and so I thought I’d share him with you, as well.

He was the smallest, most insignificant member of his family. They all said so. His Dad. His older brothers. So, they sent him out to do the jobs that nobody wanted. He lived among the dumb, smelly sheep. Samuel said that David would be king, but that must have been hard to believe after a childhood of being thought of as smallest and weakest and inferior.

David could choose to remain inferior or he could choose to face Goliath.

David could choose to maintain a servile position in his father’s household or he could choose to serve the king of Israel.

David could choose to cower in caves and live his life in fear or he could choose to be the king of Israel.

He couldn’t hold onto his past and grasp his future at the same time.

He had to choose.

All of us have things in our past—hurts, scars, sins. And we can choose to let them shape our identity. We can hold onto them and make our whole life about protecting and holding onto those things. But God has a future planned for each of us and we can’t step into the armor for the next battle until we take off the graveclothes from our past.

I’m asking myself some hard questions today. Let me challenge you with them, too.

Are you holding onto something that’s keeping you from reaching into the future? Are you ready to trust God with your graveclothes and take hold of your armor?

About Sarah Salter


  1. Amen Sarah, I know during my whole walk with Him (over 40= years now) that has been a challenge. Letting go of things that hinder my walk or mission for Him is really the only way to gain so much more…Bless you!

    “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Thanks, Jay! Good to know that it’s not just me. This chapter felt very personal. In fact, I was so convicted on just this point that I didn’t even get around to discussing a lot of important aspects of the chapter. But I know everybody else will hit those topics, so I stuck with the one that the Holy Spirit was diggin’ on in me. 🙂

  3. Sarah: you hit on a good topic here. I know that sometimes the past and even the present comes back to haunt me. I wasn’t abused, molested, or anything like that. I was, however, accepted by my father based a lot on my athletic ability. When I chose to leave baseball it was just like I was another kid to him. I think we struggle with different stuff-some a besetting sin-that keeps regurgitating itself. But those are graveclothes. Time for armor. Good thots and challenge.

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Bill, we ALL have graveclothes, whether it’s our past or a sinful habit or attitude that we can’t seem to let go of. Some of us have A LOT of graveclothes and so it takes some time to get rid of them all. That’s me. I just keep daily handing my graveclothes over to Jesus… And He keeps taking them. Thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts!

  5. This reminds me of:

    Philippians 3:13-14 (New International Version)

    13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

    Paul was a Church Leader…He was a zealot…He killed followers of Jesus…and he was good at it. But then, he encountered God on the road to Damascus… In order to serve God, he had to put aside all of his upbringing, his hate, his status, his livelihood, and his old beliefs…he had to let them all go in order to press on toward the goal…

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, I love it! Yes! Great example!

  7. This chapter was at the same time convicting and encouraging. It’s so good to know that we can struggle with the same fears and failures and still let go to a place where God can use us. Yeah, I’m asking some hard questions too about some things that ‘aren’t a big deal’ but I can elevate them quickly and let them become idols. Good thoughts and challenge, Sarah.

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