In the world we live in today, we find a great many people are interested only in themselves and what they can attain.
Their eyes are fixed firmly on the here and now, striving daily for wealth, prosperity and climbing up the social ladder. They see gain as a means to happiness. Sadly, those who fall into this category find they are never satisfied. They never have enough; their hearts always say, “Just a little more.”
In Mark 8:34-37, we read, “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, ‘Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life will lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the Gospels, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’”
For the first time in Mark’s gospel, the word “cross” appears, which shows Jesus was now operating under the shadow of the cross. Jesus knew this was why he came — to take upon himself the sins of the whole world.
You see, there is something much more important than this life — it is your soul. And the decision you make here will determine your eternal destiny.
Jesus plainly said if people were to come after him (become his disciples) they must deny themselves, take up his cross and follow him.
It requires not only to come to Christ but also to deny self (desires and interests); it means to commit your life to his leading.
Jesus conveys if a person lives for self that person will perish.
Which brings us to our main point: What, or in whom, are you trusting?
Martin Luther once said, “Whatever you cling to and rely on, that is your god!” May I ask, is your job your main focus? Or maybe it is your appearance or hobby. The very first of the Ten Commandments tells us, “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Be honest with yourself. What is most important to you? What do you place first in your life?
Verse 36 asks, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
This refers to you and me. To have all that the world has to offer yet not have Christ is to be eternally bankrupt; all of the world’s goods will not compensate for losing one’s soul eternally.
Lance Stevens pastors at Huntsville Evangelical Community Church in Pendleton. He and his wife, Judy, are formerly of Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfield reporter.com.