JIM ELLIOTT, A CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY MARTYRED BY THE AUCA INDIANS SAID THIS: “He is no fool, who gives up that which he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.”
That is a truth verified time after time in God’s Word. Jesus said in Matthew 10:39: “Whoever finds his life shall lose it: and he who loses his life for my sake, shall find it.” I don’t believe Jesus is specifically speaking of martyrdom here, as was the fate of Jim Elliott, and the four other missionaries who died with him. I believe, rather, that He is speaking of finding our lives, in the sense of discovering that we can do whatever we want, no matter how frivolous what we want may be, rather than giving our lives to God for the sake of Jesus Christ; and consequently finding unsurpassed joy and peace in His service. In other words: We may choose to serve God, or not serve Him!
Usually, I’m reticent in regard to using myself as an example in the things I write; but I’m going to do so now, because I don’t know of anyone who has wasted what God has given him anymore than I have. I find, to my chagrin, that I’m an old man who has not loved God as I should have loved Him; not loved my fellow humans as I should have loved them; and wasted much of what God has entrusted me with in utterly frivolous folly. Does that mean my case is hopeless; and that my goose is cooked as far as ever doing anything meaningful and worthwhile? Absolutely not. As in the case of the prophet Jonah, we find that our God is a God of second chances. The one who enters the field of labor late in the day, receives the same monetary compensation as the guy who worked all day. The Prodigal Son who went whoring came back disgraced, and willing to become his father’s servant, only to be given a feast and be received as a son. Our inclination is to feel that the Father was not right in so doing. We have a tendency to agree with the elder son, that the younger “wild kid” is undeserving, and therefore should receive nothing more than he had already received; and, given his earlier licentiousness, he didn’t really deserve that. By human reasoning alone, we are absolutely just in thinking that way.: The Prodigal Son didn’t deserve being received back as a son; and someone like me, as wishy-washy, lazy, uncaring, unmerciful, unkind, and unfeeling as I’ve proved to be, doesn’t deserve good things from God the Father either. In short, I don’t deserve to be awakened to the realization of where I’ve been, and what I’ve become, spiritually. Nevertheless, God, in mercy, warns me in Ephesians 5:14: “Awake, you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.” I have awakened, and He has given me light! He woke me up before it was too late. As undeserving, as licentious, and as unfeeling and uncaring as the Prodigal Son; indeed, literally a prodigal son myself, I have come home and eagerly accept my “second chance.”
Does this mean I’m gonna be perfect and never sin again? God forbid that I should be deceived into thinking that. What it does mean, is that every morning henceforth that God affords to me, I will wake up; seek His Face, remind Him of my commitment, and claim this, His promise: “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my right hand of righteousness (Isaiah 41:10).” Then I’m going to live for Him; witness for Him; preach for Him; and sing for Him. May God help me and keep me steadfast!
“WHAT REALLY MATTERS?” People’s souls, that’s what! William Bradbury’s hymn, “The Solid Rock” says it best: “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
A sinner saved by grace, who cares about you,