“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
(Matthew 10:39 ESV)
Over the past couple of days we’ve been studying the words of Jesus in which He boldly states that He is not of this earth but came to the earth from outside it. He also demands that we love Him more than we love our families and ourselves.
Only a human being who was either arrogant or insane would make those claims. But Jesus was no ordinary human being. He was God who stepped into His own creation in bodily form. He told us to love Him above all else because loving anything else will distract us from Him and cause us to end up separated from Him for all eternity.
Earth is nothing more than a fork in road. Everyone who has ever inhabited this planet has a choice as to which way they will go after they die. They can choose the road to hell. Or they can choose the road to heaven [Matthew 7:13-14].
Where we live for all eternity is based upon the choices we make on this earth. To that end Jesus tells us that anyone who finds his/her meaning and purpose in his life here on earth will actually lose their life. They choose not to choose Jesus and will end up in hell.
On the other hand whoever gives up (loses) his/her life on this earth will actually find their life. But notice the caveat Jesus adds: “for my sake“. It’s not enough to live sacrificially. We must sacrifice ourselves for Jesus in order to experience heaven.
Albert Schweitzer was an organist who played concerts in Europe to raise money for his medical missions to Africa. He gave up a lot of his life for the sake of others and today is often revered as having lived sacrificially. But Mr. Schweitzer also wrote book, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, in which he states “The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah… never existed.”.
Mr. Schweitzer may have “lost” his life by living sacrificially on this earth. But he did not do it for Jesus’ sake.
Yesterday Jesus commanded us to take up our cross – to give up our lives. It is possible for someone to do that without following Christ, as Mr. Schweitzer apparently did. It’s also possible to claim to follow Jesus without taking up a cross – to continue to live for things of this earth as many do today.
It is only by doing both – following Jesus and losing the love of earthly things – that a person will find the path to eternal life.
Jim Elliot was an American Christian who gave up a future as an architect to bring Jesus to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. He “lost” his life for Jesus’ sake. He also lost his life literally as he was killed at age 28 by members of this tribe.
As Mr. Elliot is famous for saying, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”.
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