What is a greater tragedy? Losing your life or wasting it?

What is a greater tragedy? Losing your life or wasting it?

Matthew 16:25

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The Greatest Tragedy

There is a true story of a couple who dedicated most of their lives as missionaries in the jungles of South America. They were on yet another trip, and even though they were only in their 50s, they had taken several trips to proclaim Christ among certain tribes deep within the Amazon jungles. On this particular trip, their plane experienced trouble, and they were both killed in a plane crash. Then there was another couple close to the same age who were able to retire at an early age, again in their 50s, who spent the remaining 30-plus years in retirement in Florida. They spent their mornings taking walks on the beach and collecting sea shells. They spent their afternoons playing golf. Both couples were Christians. Now imagine on the day when they meet Christ. The one couple who had spent most of their life witnessing for Christ will hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servants, I will make you rulers over many things, enter into the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:21). Now, the other couple who retired early will say, “Look, Lord, look at all the sea shells that we’ve collected in 30 years. And we shot a 78 at the golf course the other day, too!” What is the greater tragedy? Was it those who were losing their life for Christ or those who were wasting it?

Hating Their Own Life

Jesus said some very hard sayings in His earthly ministry, like whoever loves their life will lose it but whoever hates their life in this world will receive eternal life (John 12:25). Try telling that to someone who’s not a Christian–you’re probably going to see a puzzled look on their face. But what Jesus was saying was that if we love living our lives in this world for the pursuit of pleasures in this life, then we’re not living for Christ but for ourselves. On the other hand, if we are hating this life or hating the life of pleasure to please only ourselves, then we’ll be loving the things of God and pursuing what He commands us to do. Life is full of choices. We can choose to live for ourselves, or we can choose to live for Christ. This means that we must choose to crucify our own desires and choose to please God.

Gaining the World, Losing Your Soul

Jesus again said what good is it to gain the whole world yet lose your own soul. Yet if you look around at most of the world, that is exactly what their goal in life is. Just “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.” What a tragedy to waste a life that God has given us. I mean, what can a man or woman give in exchange for their own soul (Matthew 16:26)? Nothing is worth losing your own soul. So again I ask: What is a greater tragedy? Losing your life or wasting it? You know, don’t you?

A Closing Prayer

Father, I know that I waste a lot of my life on my own pleasures. Please forgive me for not putting You first and making the interests of the Kingdom of greater importance than my own pursuit of pleasure, and in Jesus’ name I pray.


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