For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Mark 8:36 ESV
Do you remember as a young person, having the idea of compound interest explained to you? It usually went something like this: “If you just put away three dollars a day for the next 40 years, you will have saved $43,800; however if you figure in the interest you will earn over those same 40 years at 5% per year you will find that you have gazillions of dollars saved for retirement!” While that seemed mind-boggling to me, I still never put it into practice until much later in life.
Jesus often talked about risk and reward. He called for his disciples to risk investing everything they owned and everything they hoped for, including their families and futures for His kingdom. It’s not that Jesus was a greedy pitchman, or a con-artist parting folks from their money. Jesus in fact said things like, “Sell all you have and give to the poor…” Mark 10:21 and “…preach the gospel to the poor…” Luke 4:18. Jesus wasn’t interested in getting their financial investments, but rather their relational investments.
How different we all would be if we lavishly invested ourselves in others as much as we do in our retirement savings? Investment means putting our principle at risk. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. Can we stop and ask ourselves the question tonight,
“Who am I willing to give my life for?” Then no matter the risk, begin to daily invest your life in them and trust in God that it will be worth more than you could imagine. But before you invest, remember that risking it all on an investment is exactly what Jesus did for us all!
Philippians 3:20 You should hold men like him in highest honor, for his loyalty to Christ brought him very near death—he risked his life to do for me in person what distance prevented you all from doing (Phillip’s Version)
One of our common complaints, though few like to admit it, is that we are bored. We find ourselves surrounded with plenty of food, decent homes, clean water and 24/7 technology, but in our heart of hearts we long for something more. Why do people spend their days on Facebook, Twitter and text messaging? Why are we addicted to the latest styles in clothing or the next big game? Why do we count the hours till we can sit and watch the next episode in whatever is our favorite show? Maybe because underneath it all we hunger for a meaning to our lives that is threatened by our sense of uselessness. We are bored! We are bored with our jobs, bored with our pursuits and bored with the sense of hopelessness that follows us home like a stray puppy.
But just beyond our comfort zone God is calling us out to live a life of risk. Jesus is calling us to follow him with our cross. The cross of Jesus has great risk. We could lose our friends. We could lose our comforts. We could lose our savings, our health and even our very lives. If that all seems a bit scary, then maybe we are finally cracking open the windows of our make-believe world just enough to let the fresh breeze of God’s kingdom in.
Will we put our bodies joyfully on God’s altar as a living sacrifice to serve the needs of God’s people? Can we imagine leaving behind our own personal interests completely and discover that God’s interests are way better? God is not just offering us a sweet abundant life as we follow Jesus. No one lived a more abundant life than Jesus Christ! Yet in his life on our planet Jesus was rejected, despised, robbed, misrepresented and crucified. He ended his life with a crowd looking on as He suffered cruelly in the most humiliating way possible, then he said, “It is finished!” Will we with all our material things around us and in the comfort of our homes and the approval of our friends, be able to have the peace that He had in his heart as He breathed out his last breath> Will we be able to say, “Father into your hands I give my spirit?” Can we ask forgiveness for those who are right now crucifying us? That is the abundant life of great risk that Christ is calling us to. He called us by name. He gave us His own life. He left us His Spirit and He waits for our reply. Will we be willing to risk our own life to follow Jesus to the end?