[Jesus said], “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
I like simple math. It’s beautiful. One thing that makes it beautiful is if you work the problem correctly, the answer is always the same. No matter what, if you add three plus four correctly, it always equals seven.
That’s no accident. God created it that way. A feature of God’s goodness to us is the creative order he has put in place. Whether we realize it or not, we rely on that order every day. Just think how difficult and confusing life would be if, on one day, three plus four equaled eight, and then on another day, it equaled five. Everything would be thrown into utter chaos.
Jesus taught his disciples some simple math in Mark chapter 8. He asked, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Our Savior’s point was simple and straightforward. He was pointing out that there are two alternatives for how to approach our lives in this world. Either we can be selfish, self-serving, self-indulgent, self-interested in an effort to “gain the whole world,” or we can be selfless, self-sacrificing, and self-giving to others in unconditional love. If we choose the first alternative, Jesus says, the outcome is certain. Such a person will “forfeit their soul” and face eternal destruction and despair. If we pursue the second alternative—and follow in Jesus’ footsteps—we will “save” our lives and reap an eternal reward.
This isn’t complicated, Jesus points out. It’s simple math.
The apostle Paul taught the same lesson in Galatians chapter 6. He presented the equation this way. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
How thankful we can be that God sent his only Son, Jesus, to rescue us from our sinful selfishness and give us new life!
How will you use your new life? You do the math.
Dear Jesus, inspire me to use my new life in service to you and others in love. Amen.