Mark 8:36 “For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life?”

We all have choices in our lives. We may choose to live for what the world offers – financial security/gain, possessions, fame, and power. Self becomes our main focus. Serving God and sacrificing for others is unimportant. This was what Jesus was asking: what do we have to show for our lives if all our accumulations demonstrate a heart that was self-centered, devoid of love for the Lord and others? We can’t take “stuff” with us (1 Timothy 6:7; Proverbs 27:24). We can, however, take with us a loving heart and a godly character. In the resurrection, God will bless the godly with eternal life (whether in heaven or on earth), but the selfish will cease to exist. Matthew 25:46 (ESV), “Then they (the selfish, goat-like characters) will go away to eternal punishment (the second death), but the righteous to eternal life.”

When Satan approached Jesus in the wilderness, he offered him all the glorious kingdoms of the world. If Jesus would just bow down and worship Satan, he would not have to suffer during his earthly life. What would Jesus have gained in that proposition? Power, wealth, fame, and a life of ease. What would he have lost? The mission he was sent to earth to fulfill – to save the whole world from death. Additionally, Jesus would have lost the great honor and privilege of going home to his Father in heaven. Essentially, he would have lost his own life and would have forfeited ours as well.

Jesus chose to live a life totally devoted to the Lord. He suffered and died so that we might live. He already had a wonderful character but he learned obedience by the things he suffered (Hebrews 5:8). He healed the sick and dying, spoke to the crowds at the cost of his own rest and strength, and shared his Heavenly Father with all. In the end, what did he gain? He gained for himself immortality and he gave mankind the opportunity to live forever. (John 3:16, 17)

Let us remember that beautiful quote from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”