By Joe Chesser
Sometimes our priorities get all mixed up. Sometimes we major in minors. Sometimes we give things of little importance our utmost attention. For example, if our house was on fire, what inside the house would be worth risking our life to save? Our furniture? Our electronics? Our guns? Our photos? Our cars? As valuable as these things may be to us, are they worth risking our lives to save them?
Jesus made this point when he was warning about the coming destruction of Jerusalem. He said, “When you see the abomination of desolation … standing in the holy place … then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak” (Matthew 24.15-18).
If our physical lives are more valuable than anything we possess, how much more valuable are our souls than anything we possess? Jesus answers that question for us by saying, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16.26).
Then why are we so often willing to rush into a burning house to save trinkets, or why are we so often willing to neglect our souls for fun at the beach or for a bigger house or for a promotion at work or for … whatever? Could it be that our priorities are money, fame, accomplishment, power or things? Are these things worth risking our lives to collect and protect? Perhaps we have not learned that “godliness with contentment is great gain, for we have brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6.6-9). Are things worth risking our life to get!
Perhaps we have failed to find our contentment in God. King David wrote, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16.11). He also said, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you desires of your heart” (Psalm 37.4). It’s easy to find contentment in God when God is our delight. Finding contentment in God is a learned process. As Paul wrote, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content … I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4.11, 13).
Jesus wants us to learn to turn things that are upside down right side up. We do this when we make God our priority, when we seek Him and His kingdom above everything else (Matt. 6.33). That’s the only thing worth giving up our life to attain.
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org