Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.
Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Loss is a central theme of the Bible, and many heroes suffered mightily. From Adam and Eve to Noah and Job; Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Naomi, David and the nation of Israel. God lost His Own Son to crucifixion. But following each loss came greater gain.
Does this biblically-based certainty make our losses easier to endure? Yes. Like a high window in a prison cell, like a sliver of light in the darkness, we believe the Lord will free us from pain and restore our lives better than before.
Can this promise be hard to remember? Yes.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Some things you lose are voluntary. Peter and the early apostles sacrificed jobs, homes, plans and comforts to follow Christ into grave danger. Their personal gains aren't reported, but the gains of the church were immense.*
' 'Truly I tell you,' Jesus said to them, 'no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come, eternal life' ' (Luke 18:29-30).
Some losses are involuntary. Job did not cause his disasters, even though his friends wrongly assumed Job's tragic plight resulted from sin. But after his arduous trials, 'The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the former part' (Job 42:12).
Therein, saints must be willing to lose, especially the things of this world, knowing their future gains will be great: greater than anything they can hope, hook, hoard, hide or handle on their own.
To Be Continued...
* Short article: Church Growth By Multiplication: http://ministry127.com/church-planting/church-growth-by-multiplication
* 'Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved' (Acts 2:46-47).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Matthew 16 series.