Saturday, September 08, 2007

Life is a Paradox: Losing is Finding

There once was a man who had the means to take any of life’s options all the way to the end. In his day he was the richest man in the world. He was able to buy anything and everything that he saw or wanted. His conclusion? Riches are empty.

In his day he was one of the most powerful rulers in the world. Other rulers esteemed him as the first among equals. He extended the borders of his country to their greatest lengths in history. He formed the greatest military. He built the finest and most ornate buildings. His palace was envied by the world. His conclusion? Power is empty.

In his day he was the most desired man by the most beautiful women alive. He literally had a thousand women desiring his affections and wanting to bear his children. His conclusion? Sexuality is empty.

In his day he had no equal with respect to intellect. He assembled one of the great libraries of the world. He wrote volumes of the most profound works that continue to be read and studied today. His conclusion? Knowledge is empty.

Of course I’m describing the life and times of King Solomon. Solomon wrote an account of these life experiments that turned up so empty and it is called, "Ecclesiastes".

Solomon’s life is a powerful testimony to the paradox that Jesus espoused, “losing is finding”. The more Solomon tried to find life the more it slipped through his fingers. At those points where Solomon willingly lost his life for the sake of God, Solomon found life to be fullest and most abundant.

Matthew 16:24-25 is the recording of Jesus’ declaration of this paradox. These verses strike a death blow to the contemporary trend toward self-centered consumption. Even within Christianity many seek to approach Jesus as a genie that would meet all their needs and fulfill their whims.

“If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will find it.”

Christ calls upon His followers to pour out, spend and give away their lives. Your reputation, your security, your well-being and your future are all in His hands. The promise? When you lose your life to and for Jesus, you’ll find it.

I pray that you might have the courage to live in the power of this paradox.

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