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Gaining The Whole World

Jesus - Gain The Whole WorldMany are familiar with Jesus’ question, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” It’s often quoted, and it’s as relevant today as when he first asked it of his students 2000 years ago. The contrast is clear. We often get caught up in our work and desires. Our priorities get mixed up. We lose sight of the important. But what was Jesus saying was important?

We live in a culture that says lots of things are important – lose weight, make more money, find the right person, wear these clothes, drive this car, get a great job, buy a big house, achieve all your dreams. And there a philosophies and lifestyles that claim to have the answers to all our deep questions.

Few “want” to forfeit their soul. But many of us run around chasing the wind. How do we avoid this?

In two succinct sentences just before the quote above, we get the answer of how to avoid forfeiting our soul. Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

Jesus is saying if I am not front and center in your life – if I am not the most important thing in your life – then your life doesn’t matter – it’s forfeit. Jesus is saying forget about your goals and aspirations (lose those, deny yourself), first come to me and find True Life. If you let your life be guided by any other compass than me you’re dead – you will lose it. Try as you might (gain the whole world even) it can’t be traded for your soul which you will find in me. Only in me will you find Life.

So yes, it’s an amazing quote by Jesus – “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” – but it is far more comprehensive in the context, mission, and the depths of his larger message.

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson

Matthew 16:24-27

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

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