To retain, might not be gain …

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Mark 8:36, KJ21)

Much effort is put forth in the course of our living to retain things. We have deep desires as human beings to retain as much as possible during our days on this earth. Retaining things in life seems to be a natural aspect of our living, yet our intention retaining does not always bring gain.

Retaining a career or business position might not always be the best for us, if our superiors are demanding more than we want or can psychologically, morally or physically deliver. We could lose our enthusiasm for life, our health and most importantly the moral core of our being that gives us direction and strength for living. We might have retained a position, but we have gained nothing but our wages.

Investing considerable time and effort in our home or a system or plan to retain our material possessions and our monetary savings might work for gain, but it can evaporate in an instant, due to innumerable events beyond our control. What we intended to retain, can be lost.

Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of all things offered a different course of action in His kingdom than the typical way of living, where time and effort are devoted to retention of things in this life on earth. He knew how flimsy and futile all the best intentional retaining in life could be. Much of what we desire to retain is of this earth, and it can easily be lost. Even to gain the whole world would be no gain in the eternal sense if you miss the salvation and keys to the eternal kingdom Christ freely offers.

Thus, Christ asks us, as He asked His disciples to let go of our dedication, efforts and our great desire to retain things that cannot be retained for His eternal Kingdom. It will be of absolutely no gain to retain everything in this world but lose your soul. It is the letting go of the things of this earth and through the giving up of ourselves that we will gain the only things, which will be retained for eternity.

Suggested Reading Mark 8


Seeing, Realizing and Living

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth with a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord or as his counselor has instructed him? Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him understanding? Behold the nations are like a drop from a bucket and are accounted as the dust on the scales . . . All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing! (Isaiah 40:12–17)

When we really and truly see who we are, and when we really and truly see who God is, we are helpless and hopeless in our reach for God until we realize God is reaching to save us by sending Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord. The Almighty and Living God rules and reigns beyond every perceived and comprehensible human sense of perfection in His holiness. He is so utterly indescribable in the countless realms of His power and essence that the sum of all human vocabulary and language fails to begin even to touch in all He is and does.

Yet, we long with all our heart and soul to know Him even as we are barely able to grasp and know the slightest and minuscule amounts of His glory and greatness.  To have an intimate relationship with God is our created purpose, but our sin obscures this connection until we find salvation at the cross. It is from the cross forward hopeful in the Risen Christ; we find the endless grace to come again and again in the humble acknowledgement of our limited human strength and capacity and our need for all that an indescribable God can give by, through and in His incomprehensible love.

Continuing down the road of life and faith, we can and will find ourselves time and time again wandering, weary and confused in all we experience and all we face. It is in these moments that both weigh against our hearts and challenge our emotions and our intellect, that we need more than we can gather or find in our being.  It is here in the deepness of our struggle, pain, and difficulty that our needs for the Indescribable God pour forth in our cries for help and clarity in understanding and direction.   It is here again that we must truly see our God for who He is.  Nothing is impossible with Him and nothing is out of His capacity to heal, sustain, restore and redeem in the ever sufficient and overflowing grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is a humbling thing to truly see who we really are and a glorious and wonderful thing to realize our need for all that the Almighty and Living God can give. Seeing and realizing this great truth brings will always lead us to praise, thankfulness and the worship of our Heavenly Father and our Savior.  Abiding every day in the truth of our need for God and knowing He has the strength and power by His love and grace to give us everything we need, is life giving on this earth and for eternity.  Take time today … to be still and thankful for who you are and who your God is!

Suggested Reading … Isaiah 40