Two Ways of Living
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. — John 12:25
We have our choice. We may live for self, take good care of our lives, not exposing them to danger, not making sacrifices, looking out for our own interests, and we may prosper in the world; people will commend our prudence and congratulate us on our success. We may reach old age hale and well preserved, and greatly enjoy our accumulated honours and possessions. This is one way of living. There seems to be something pleasant about such a life; but really it is only the grain of wheat preserved in the garner and kept from falling into the ground. The life abides alone, well enough kept perhaps, but with no increase. It has been no blessing in the world. It has done nothing for the glory of God. It has fed no hunger; it has won no reward. That is the whole outcome of selfishness. “He that loveth his life shall lose it.”
The other way is to forget self; not to think of nor care for one’s own life, but to throw it away in obedience to God and in unselfish service. People will say you are foolish thus to waste your golden life, thus to sacrifice yourself for the sake of others or in Christ’s cause. But was Christ Himself foolish when He went to His cross? Let the redeemed Church be the answer. Were the martyrs foolish when they threw their lives away for Christ’s sake? Ignatius said, when facing the fierce lions in the arena, “I am grain of God. Let me be ground between the teeth of lions if I may thus become bread to feed God’s people.” Were such martyred lives wasted, thrown away? Is any life wasted that becomes seed-corn to produce bread by-and-by for the world? The way to make nothing of our lives is to be very careful of them. The way to make our lives eternal successes is to do with them just what Christ did with His.