Then Jesus said to his disciples, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them. Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives?”
“What’s it worth to you?”
That may sound like a question you only hear in a mob movie, or as a joke when one friend has gossip the other is desperate to hear. But this is no joke. Jesus is dead serious here. He wants to know what it’s worth to you – your life, that is.
He says this to his disciples on the heels of telling them that his path will lead him not to glory, but a cross. They can’t believe it. And when he says they’re headed for crosses too, they don’t want to believe it!
If you want to save your life, Jesus says, you need to be willing to lose it. Finding life has to be that important to us. We need to be willing to give up the life we know – the patterns, the priorities, the measures of success – in order to find a new way of living.
The Christian life is about throwing off all illusions in order to embrace what’s real. The problem is that what the world says is real – money, recognition, titles – Jesus calls an illusion. And meanwhile, the world looks back at faith and says, “that’s an illusion.” What a quandary!
So you see why Jesus uses this language about finding and losing your life. The choice really is that stark. The question is: what’s it worth to you?
For Pondering & Prayer
When have you had to let go to what you’ve known in order to build something better? Where was God in that experience?
What does saying “no” to yourself look like for you today?