“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Next week, the National Football League will begin its preseason, which will ultimately lead to the top two teams facing off in the Super Bowl. The year will start with 30 teams, each one hoping to at least reach the playoffs, and with some teams truly expecting to reach the Super Bowl. But only two will, and all of the others will watch from the stands or on TV.
Picture this scenario, though. Every team gets to play in the Super Bowl, and even if they lose, they still get the Lombardi Trophy that goes to the winner. Even teams that didn’t play hard or try hard to to be the winner. What would that trophy mean if that was the case? What if you didn’t even have referees and each team got to make up their own rules? How long would it be before fans stopped caring about professional football?
We celebrate the winners because they worked the hardest, played the best and sacrificed the most on the way to winning the biggest prize in football. Whoever wins that game will have earned their place in football history because they did whatever it took to get to the top.
It’s really not very different for Christians. Honestly, how often to you hear people talking about how hard it is to be a Christian and how much you have to give up. The truth is, you really don’t have to give up a lot. You just have to turn your heart and desires over to the Lord and let Him guide you. But there will be some sacrifice – without it, what would the Christian faith be worth?
Consider this – we are serving a Savior who sacrificed even His own life to save ours. Every one of Jesus’ disciples ended up being martyred for their faith (except for John, who died in exile). So if we change our lives a little or endure some hard times now and then, how bad is that compared to what they went through? And if everyone got to make up their own rules and do anything they wanted, how would that be any different from the rest of the world?
Sacrifice is part of the Christian faith and has been since the very beginning. If you really want your faith to grow, you’ll be willing to put your desires in the Master’s hands and let Him direct you, no matter the cost.
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.