Saturday, November 23
Losing and finding
Scripture: Matthew 14-16
Matthew 16:25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Jesus gives His famous call to discipleship: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Then this verse to lose your life for His sake. Clearly, following Jesus is an all-in deal. You can’t be half-in, or part-time. It’s not a religion that you add to your life as just one more component: My life, my family, my friends, my hobbies, my money, my job, my religion, my entertainment, my home, etc. When Jesus calls us to follow, He calls us to deny ourselves and to die (that was the meaning of taking up a cross). My life is no longer my own—I belong to Jesus. But it is in losing our lives for Him that we find them. This has profound implications for every area of life. For example…
When I lose my marriage, I find it. When I can deny myself (and let go of my selfishness) and follow Jesus in my marriage—do what He says—I’ll find my marriage. I’ve learned that I love Laina better when I love Jesus first.
A big one for me right now: when I lose my life as pastor of Life Center, I find it. I have been Pastor Joe of Life Center for almost 42 years. It’s who I am. I’m in the process of losing that role, that life—and of finding what the Lord has next for me! I can’t find it without losing it!
That’s not easy. It’s why so many pastors hang on too long, and end up running their church into the ground. They try to “save their life,” to hang on, and end up losing it. For the church’s sake, and for his/her own sake, the pastor must let go—must lose that life to find the next one. Every time I read this verse, I feel affirmed in the decision we made to pass the baton to Pastor Michael. I believe Life Center’s best days are ahead of her. And I believe the Lord has new life for me too! When I lose my life for His sake, I find it! No need to fear—do what Jesus says and move forward with confidence.
Prayer: Lord, I’m so grateful that with You, we never really sacrifice anything. Whatever we give to You comes back better!