Mark 8:34-38 – “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him, the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” NKJV
I find the words of our Lord so penetrating and thought-provoking it is beyond words. Jesus has the ability to speak a few words that would require volumes to fully dissect and digest and yet are so clearly understood and simple. Here is one of those passages that contains so much that one could spend a lengthy amount of time meditating upon each line and sentence and yet not exhaust what is said.
We spend much of our lives trying to “get ahead” and “carve out a niche” for ourselves and yet Jesus said that if we are to follow Him we have to “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.” Our ambitions must become secondary to His desires, goals, and plans for our lives. We spend a significant amount of our time trying to “preserve life” or give ourselves a platform, condition, and cushion upon which to live the “good life.” Yet, the Master said that if we “seek to save our life we will lose it.” If our singular drive is “storing up for ourselves” we will find that we are putting money in bags with holes and in the end, our lives will come to naught. Most people want to reach the place where they “have arrived”, their “ship has come in,” or some other description of success materially and monetarily but Jesus said, “So what if you manage to gain all the wealth of the world and its power and prestige but lose your soul what have you accomplished?” What will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Our LORD makes it clear that it is possible to have EVERYTHING in this life and yet have NOTHING of eternal value. I’m not suggesting that having money, possessions, or even position is in itself a bad or evil thing I am suggesting that if that comes between you and God it is. The Scripture makes it clear that we are to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness” and in so doing He will provide whatever we need when we need it and in the amount and timing that we need it.
I don’t know about you but it is my desire to have ETERNAL WORTH, not just EARTHLY WORTH. If I can have both and use that wealth for the cause of the Kingdom I will rejoice but if I have to choose one or the other I will choose GOD! I would rather have Jesus than any wealth or fame. I’d rather have Jesus than be the king of a vast domain. I rather have Jesus that anything that this world can offer and in having Him I have everything that this world can afford.
May God be with you as you go through your day!