Many believers live in a minor but significant distrust of God. They hang on to their money, their possessions, and their time for themselves like a child refusing to share his candy. They fear, with fears they hardly dare admit even to themselves—and which they know are wrong—that God will take more from them than he will give back. They know they are supposed to believe that God will give them a better deal, that he will make it worth while, but they are hesitant to bet the whole wad (their whole life) on his amazing promises.
Such fearful believers can take heart. It is a matter of honor for God to reward us for our work of faith and labor of love (Heb. 6:10). Indeed, God is an inexhaustible fountain of love that pours himself out in an everlasting river of giving. As we read in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Everything! Did you read that? Did you let the word everything process in your heart and brain? This implies that that God will make it worth our while to serve him—that we will receive a mind-boggling reward in a degree that only an infinite God of infinite recources can give.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible brings this thought home. “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and infinite weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). Similarly we read, “The sufferings of this present age (for faithfully following Christ) are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18). If we take these verses at face value, they encourage us to think of our life as an investment opportunity. Imagine if you were given a hot tip for a stock that was guaranteed to go up a thousand fold in the next ten years, wouldn’t you invest every penny you could possibly scrape up? You would endure hardship for ten years to get an awesome return. Now stretch the time frame out to your whole life and multiply the return by infinity and eternity. This is the investment opportunity that God holds out to men when he invites them to follow Jesus.
This is what the Gospels mean when they say, “He that loses his soul for my sake and the sake of the gospel shall keep it unto life eternal. He that finds his soul shall lose it.” This hard saying isn’t mystical truth that doesn’t have any practical application. Nor is it a complex theological brain-buster that escapes the understanding of even the most learned theologians. And it is definitely not advocating an ascetic lifesyle—which is impractical. It is simply exhorting us to live our life for Jesus’ things in a very practical way instead of living for our own things. It is advising us to put our life in the bank of Jesus and get an infinite investment return. What’s not to like? How can anyone pass this deal up?
“Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.”
Lee W. Brainard