“What profit would a man show if he were to gain the whole world and destroy himself in the process?” —Matthew 16:26
Every human being wants to show a profit. Most try to save their lives by taking control of things, working hard, and making things happen. That’s what the people of Nineveh did. They raised up great armies and undertook monumental campaigns. By human standards it appeared they were showing a profit, but it turned out just the opposite. The end result for Nineveh was: “Everyone who sees you runs from you, saying, ‘Nineveh is destroyed; who can pity her?’ ” (Na 3:7)
The same thing happens to individuals. If we take charge of our lives, it will backfire and we ruin them (Mt 16:26). How did we ever get the impression we were the ones to manage our lives? We’re just not right for the job and our record proves it. The best thing we can do is deny ourselves and get down to the job we are fitted for, the job of cross-bearing (Mt 16:24). We don’t like the job, but by God’s grace we can do it well. We can lay down our lives for one another. We can suffer persecution for Jesus’ sake. It’s difficult, but we can do the job faithfully. Let’s quit our volunteer job of running our own lives and accept the job that will give us a profit in the long run. “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Mt 16:25).
Prayer: Father, forgive me for being self-employed, rather than God-employed.
Promise: “The Son of Man will come with His Father’s glory accompanied by His angels. When He does, He will repay each man according to his conduct.” —Mt 16:27
Praise: In the middle of the Third Century, Emperor Valerian banned Christians from holding assemblies. Pope St. Sixtus II didn’t comply. He was decapitated shortly after celebrating Mass in the catacombs.
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