“What advantage do people have if they gain the whole world for themselves yet perish or lose their lives?” Luke 9:25 CEB
I used to think that having stuff would be pretty cool. Then I got more stuff. I used to think that having a position and a little bit of power would be pretty amazing. Then I got a position and a little bit of power. I actually thought that being able to lead would be the reward itself and would be the pinnacle of what life was all about. Then I was asked to lead. The template that the culture in which I live had given me concerning life was flawed. It turns out the most important things in life are not stuff, they are not position or power, and the important things are not even being able to lead. Much of the time the culture in which we live tells us that these are the important things in life and when we achieve these things we will have the advantage in life. The question is, “What Advantage?”
The reality is that you can have more stuff than anyone else in the world, greater position and power than anyone else in the world, and be able to lead more people than anyone else in the world and it will not give you the greatest advantage in life. This is what Jesus was saying when he asked his disciples what advantage was gained if you gain the whole world and lose your life in the process. So many people pursue that little bit more in this world. People desire a bigger house, better car, better title, bigger office, more influence, and bigger paycheck. They chase after the things that the culture says are important. Yet, they miss out on what is truly important in life. They pursue all of this things, but to what advantage?
Jesus turned the way of the culture upside down. If you want to save your life lose it. If you want to experience all that Jesus has in store for you all you have to do is deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him. The way to gain the greatest advantage in the whole world is to follow Jesus. If we want to become great in the kingdom of God, in this world and in heaven, we must serve everyone. Rev. Dr. Jim Harnish wrote a great book many years ago titled, “You Only Have to Die.” In this book Jim writes, “If you forget everything else you read in this book, I hope you remember this: Hope is born when we are willing to die for the right things.” Are you willing to die for the right things? Jesus was and calls us to be.
When all is said and done … are you willing to die for the right things? What are those things in your life? I pray for all of us to be willing to lose our life for the sake of Jesus Christ. I pray we will lose ourselves in serving others in Jesus’ name. I pray that we will surrender our wants and desires for Jesus’ wants and desires. Jesus longs for those who follow him to lose their life in the effort. Only when we lose our life because of Jesus will our life be saved. This is the advantage of following Christ! We follow Christ in our conduct, our character, and our commitment. This is the complete promise Christ desires and the advantage we gain.
God desires a complete promise from all who follow God. Our hearts given completely to the pursuit of becoming more and more like Christ. This Sunday we will conclude the message series entitled One Faithful Promise. The message will help us consider the importance of living in complete promise to God. I look forward to sharing this message with you Sunday. God is at work at St. Andrew’s and I can’t wait to see you in church!