Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.
Being finite creatures living a temporal existence, it is very easy to become shortsighted living and loving for the now. Everything we see and touch seems so real. All of our earthly human needs and wants seem so pressing and necessary. The glittering of the gold around us that we have been enabled to enjoy distracts us. Our focus is very naturally short term. Sadly, we are shortsighted people.
Recently, I came across an illustration of the relative length of our lives shared by Francis Chan, a popular preacher. He had an exceptionally long white rope draped across the stage. I would guess it was in excess of 50 feet and still you could not see the end of it for it trailed off the stage into the anteroom. It was long. At the end, he had colored about 4 inches of it in red. The rope represented our total existence; i.e. eternity. The red piece represented our time in these bodies on this earth. The contrast was clear. We are here on this planet enjoying these moments, meeting our earthly needs, pursuing our agendas, collecting our stuff, building our buildings, etc., etc., etc., for an infinitesimally short time. It is a blip. These lives are a flash. Life is a mist rising and dissipating in a moment. As Robin Mark sings, ‘We are a moment. You are forever.’ Considering this, why do we make such a big deal about things here and make such a small deal about things eternal? It is perplexing.
Jesus is clear – to gain this whole, temporary world at the expense of our eternal dwelling with God is simply foolish. What exactly will a man give during this short existence in exchange for his eternal existence with God? What in this ‘gone in an instant’ life is worth eternity apart from the True Life? It’s a loaded question and Lord Jesus knows it. He never shies away from telling us the truth. He will not shelter us from the terrible long term effects of our stupid, selfish short term choices. This life on this earth in its current form is quite temporary. Life in Heaven with God is forever. Life in Hell without Him goes on and on and on…The choice is clear. The implications are serious.
To daily lose this life for Jesus sake is to gain our real lives with Father God into eternity. We cannot allow ourselves to be fooled. Christ is Life – forever.
This world is not my home
I’m just passing through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue,
The angels beckon me
From Heaven’s open door.
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.