Matthew 10:39 “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Many people are on a quest to find themselves. “Who am I?” “What am I here for?” Sometimes that quest has a very spiritual flavor to it. But more and more Americans prefer to go searching without the help of “organized religion.” Through personal meditation, private prayer, time dedicated to volunteering and helping others, limitations on their spending to accumulate things, sensitivity to the ecology of our planet (you know, concerns about things like recycling and pollution and sustainability), they are trying to become “a better person.” The pot of gold at the end of their rainbow is to get to the place where they can say, “I feel good about myself. I like myself. In fact, I love myself. If there is a god I have to stand before someday, I think I am ready to face him on my own.”
For others, “finding life” is all about material success. I want to be rich. I want to be famous. I want to have a great career. I want to travel all over the world. At the very least, I want to have a happy, decent middle class family. The pot of gold at the end of their rainbow is simply to enjoy the good things the world has to offer.
It may sound cruel, but we need to hope that none of these people is successful in their search. “Whoever finds his life will lose it,” Jesus says. A life without Jesus at the very center is always lost in the end.
“And whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Maybe you never made enough money to get your picture in the society pages. Your “15 minutes of fame” doesn’t interest the tabloids, or never happened at all.
Perhaps you didn’t get to spend all your time pursuing your favorite hobby or interest. You were so busy serving, and being treated like a servant, that all your strength and energy were used up loving others and spreading the gospel.
Sometimes the “golden years” do not turn out so golden. You spend your money and your health taking care of others and serving at church. Maybe life itself is being shortened in some way from putting your Savior first. Some Christians face martyrdom, but the wear and tear of a hard life lived sacrificially also takes its toll. The cumulative result of late nights and early mornings and little time for the doctor and a not-so-careful diet because of time given to the kingdom, and to the Savior, results in fewer years on earth.
You have lost nothing. “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” With Jesus there is always grace, always forgiveness. That means heaven is always waiting with a life there that will never end. There we will find more love than we ever dreamed possible. There each of us will find who I really am, what I am really here for, because there we will find the God who made us, and then made us his own a second time by the blood of his Son.
Along the way between here and there we discover that the life of serving and sacrificing has more positive things than we might have imagined. Lose your life following Jesus, and you will find the only life worth having.