“What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” (Matthew 16:26)
I recall the days of my childhood, I hated having to wake up early to take my bath and prepare for school. I admired other children who were not going to school. I wished I could “enjoy” like them. Schooling was the definition of “suffering” for me, but today I realize I was the one enjoying it.
We all crave profit. We love the feeling of knowing that our investment has paid off. The pain of parting with the initial price is forgotten the moment we see our profits. Today, Jesus uses the term “profit” consciously to teach us an important lesson about life.
Jesus asks: “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?” In other words, what do we hope to gain if we simply enjoy life only to die and miss eternal life afterward? What would be the essence of our sacrifices and pains on earth if we would have to continue suffering in the world beyond the grave?
Jesus is inviting us to invest in eternity. How? To live in such a manner as to be worthy of heaven after your death. The profit of life on earth is to be with God in perfect bliss and happiness. This is what the penny catechism teaches us: “Why did God make you? To know Him, to love Him, to serve Him, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven?”
If we fail to invest in eternity, then the time we spent on earth would have been wasted Everything we work so hard to achieve would be vanity the moment we cease to breathe. All our riches and everything that keeps us awake at night right now would mean nothing. To die in a state of disconnect with God is the worst kind of death. It is like one who was never even born at all.
Are you thinking of an investment that is sure to pay you huge dividends? An investment that would continue to take care of you at old age when you can no longer work? Or would you rather invest in something that is capable of taking care of you after your death and forever? Invest in eternity. The good news is that this investment does not require money – it is as easy as following Jesus.
This investment entails that you deny yourself of the pleasures of sin, that you carry your cross daily, and follow the exemplary life of Jesus Christ. Practice God’s words. Be a true Christian, let your light shine. Never consent to sin. Whether you are poor or rich doesn’t matter. Whether you achieve fame or fulfil your political ambition is not important. A hundred years from now, no one will remember any of these. Only one thing is important, that your life is pleasing to God, your creator.
Let us pray: Almighty and ever-living God, help me to attain a profitable life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Nahum 2:1,3,3:1-3,6-7, Deut. 32:35-36,39,41, Matthew 16:24-28).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu