He that findeth his life shall lose it…

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“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:39)

We can think of many examples of it…

—  The musician lost in her music yet, at the same time, most fully herself.

—  The athlete pushed beyond his ‘limits’ but finding new strengths he had never known before.

—  The parents sacrificing everything for their children and discovering who they really are.

We might consider these to be small scale instances of Matthew 10:39.  But that’s only because they are echoes of true losing-and-finding.  The original pattern of losing life to find it pre-dates the universe!

As Jesus says in John 10:17:

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.”

This is a mind-blowing truth.  The Father has always loved the Son.  Their love, shared in the unity of the Holy Spirit, defines the very being of God.  And here Jesus links it in the most profound way to the laying down of His life, only to find it again.  Let me put it this way: The eternal love of God is cross-and-resurrection shaped.  And the cross and resurrection manifests the eternal love of God.

Therefore “losing your life to find it” is a very ancient path.  It is pre-historic in the ultimate sense.  Before there was a world there was the Son gladly yielding up His life to the Father in the power of the Spirit.  There was the Father generously pouring His life into the Son by the Spirit.  And in this other-centred communion they find themselves.

As the Son submits to the Father so He finds His identity as obedient Son.  As the Father commits everything into the hands of His Son, so He finds His identity as loving Father.  As the Spirit empowers the Father and Son in their sacrificial love so He finds His identity as communing Spirit.  The Trinity is a community of Persons who find their lives in losing them.

This is the love that preceded and produced the universe.  So when the Father sends the Spirit-filled Son into the world, He manifests this life in our midst.  And Jesus calls us to join in, not in an abstract sense, but very concretely we are to lose our life for His sake.

In this life there are a million things that ask us to lose our lives.  They do it by promising to give life.  So our careers promise to make us somebody, but in the end they only take.  Success, fame, money, power, respect, even human love offer us life, but we only end up losing our lives to them.  None of these idols can give us a return on investment.  Only Jesus can promise that.

You see Jesus asks us to lose our life and, initially, that sounds very unappealing.  All the idols of this world are promising the finding of life.  But Jesus here unmasks the lies.  Idols participate in a death-march from finding to losing.  Jesus exists in an eternal Fellowship of losing-to-find.  He’s in on the one Power that transforms lost into found.  While everything else in this world goes from life to death.  Jesus is the One who travelled the other way.  He laid down His life on the cross, only to receive it again in resurrection glory.

Therefore, as we consider where to invest our lives, Jesus is the only One who can be trusted.  But if we do trust Him we will certainly find our lives again.  With interest!

“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:39)

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