Matthew 16:24-26 (NLT)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”
What do you gain if you lose your soul? This isn’t a hypothetical or rhetorical question. It doesn’t have an obvious answer unless you have studied and considered it on its own merits. Yes, you might have the world, but so what? This is a big, big deal.
Why would Christ even bring this up? Why can’t we just be good people and be moving on? Why consider what happens when our bodies quit? Because its apparent from the way Christ talks to us that our souls don’t.
Give up our own way? No way. Yes way. It’s the only way. Now what that looks like is something I don’t think we’ve quite come to understand fully. Maybe, like the rich ruler, we don’t care to.
It makes me uncomfortable to think about it. If you hang onto your life, you will lose it. Jesus, really? No punches thrown, no threats, just a basic “hey, here’s how it is.” We can take it or not.
What do we gain if we gain the world? Everything material.
What do we gain if we lose our soul?