HEARTS AFLAME: DIVINE PROMISE AND PURPOSE
Following Jesus: What do we lose, and what do we save?
By SAW SEANG PIN
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” – Mark 8.36
This pithy verse is just the sort of verse a mission mobiliser might toss at you! It might seem a bit glib, a bit too much like something one sticks on a motivational poster. But in the radical, upside-down Kingdom of God, it is true. It’s profoundly true that if we focus on gaining the world, we risk losing what is truly important.
Mark 8.34: “… [Jesus] said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
What does it look like in real life to deny ourselves and follow Jesus? Other than dramatically abandoning careers and going overseas to become missionaries, which not all of us are called to, what does this verse look like for most Jesus-followers?
I think it means letting go of what we want, and doing what God would want us to do. It might mean giving up convenience to care for others who need our help. It might mean letting go of our resentment against someone (however well-earned) and committing to forgiveness. It might mean the hard work of figuring out how to glorify God in the workplace instead of just coasting along in our jobs. It might mean risking discomfort to talk to friends and colleagues about spiritual things. For me in my current phase of life, following Jesus means not so much stepping into more mission work, but rather stepping back and prioritising instead caregiving for family. For others, it may mean committing more to mission.
Are you following Jesus? Are you prepared to give up what you want and what the world wants for you, in order to do what Jesus calls you to?
Mark 8.35: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
And is following Jesus really as reckless as jumping off a cliff?
Interestingly, it was my non-Christian friends and colleagues who demonstrated to me that “giving up” for Jesus is actually a privilege. When I quit my investment banking job to join a mission agency, I didn’t expect that non-believers would understand my decision and I braced myself for derision. I was surprised when a reaction I often got was envy. They saw that I was trading in a career of questionable real value in order to chase my dream of living more meaningfully, and they longed to do the same.
As followers of Jesus, we are privileged to have the option of reaching for and taking hold of a higher purpose. In “losing”, we save our own souls.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
MS SAW SEANG PIN is a trained lawyer serving with OMF and now with OM International, tackling global south mission sustainability. She is also a member of SCGM Council. She is married to Reginald Tan and has two cats.
SCGM 40TH ANNIVERSARY DEVOTIONAL CAMPAIGN
40 FRiends of SCGM have been invited to take part in our 40-Day Devotional Project to help raise funds for SCGM’s 40th Anniversary. Each day starting 20 November 2020 to 31 December 2020, SCGM will publish one devotion written by our 40 FRiends in our FundRaising effort and celebration of God’s goodness and provision over the last 40 years!
Through their devotional reflections, we pray that our FRiends of SCGM40 will bless and encourage many to reflect upon God’s Presence, Protection, Provision, Purification and Power in Missions.