In the midday heat of summer, while traveling in the American South, my wife and I stopped for ice cream. On the wall behind the counter we saw a sign reading, “Absolutely No Snowmobiling.” The humor worked because it was so unexpected.
Sometimes saying the unexpected has the most effect. Think of this in regard to a statement by Jesus: “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39). In a kingdom where the King is a servant (Mark 10:45), losing your life becomes the only way to find it. This is a startling message to a world focused on self-promotion and self-protection.
In practical terms, how can we “lose our life”? The answer is summed up in the word sacrifice. When we sacrifice, we put into practice Jesus’s way of living. Instead of grasping for our own wants and needs, we esteem the needs and well-being of others.
Jesus not only taught about sacrifice but He also lived it by giving Himself for us. His death on the cross became the ultimate expression of the heart of the King who lived up to His own words: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Loving Father, teach me the heart of Christ, that I might more fully appreciate the sacrifice He has made for me and be willing to sacrifice myself for others.
Nothing is really lost by a life of sacrifice. Henry Liddon
After appointing twelve men as His disciples (Matt. 10:1–4), Jesus gave them their first assignment to go and preach the good news that “the kingdom of heaven has come near” (v. 7). Jesus warned that people in the world would not want to hear about Him: “You will be hated by everyone because of me” (v. 22). We, too, may be ignored, opposed, rejected, persecuted, and even killed (vv. 16–22). It may cost us to share the gospel with others, and we may experience hostility even from our own family (vv. 35–36). To overcome these challenges, Jesus calls for a commitment to Him that is greater than any other (vv. 37–39).