This past Sunday morning Pastor Steve challenged us with this searching question: “Would I serve Jesus and follow Him if there were NO benefit to me?”
Interestingly, the apostle Paul has already volunteered his responses to this question in two strikingly different statements:
If by this question we mean “Would you serve Jesus and follow him if there were no benefit to you personally yet still your ministry was to the effectual salvation of others?” then Paul replies:
“I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race…” (Rom. 9:3). So great was his desire to see the salvation of others that he was willing to sacrifice his own eternal blessedness!
But if by this question we mean “Would you serve Jesus and follow him if there were no benefit to you or anyone else?” Paul’s answer is something quite different:
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” And “If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’” (1 Cor. 15:19, 32)
A hit song in 1969 was Peggy Lee’s Is That All There Is?
The stanzas of the song are more properly narratives in which the singer describes several life events and the emptiness found when they had ended. These narratives are interspersed with the chorus somberly sung to these lyrics.
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is
Apart from the resurrection of Christ such melancholy is appropriate. There is no point to life! As Solomon summarized “’Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
But Christ is Risen Indeed!
This one fact has transformed time and eternity! That thing deep inside us that screams “No! Death is wrong!” is correct. Death was never intended; we are eternal beings! Christ has proven this, and determining where we spend that eternity is the most important business of life on this Earth.
Jesus says, “Come, follow me…” The wise soul will do so — whatever the consequences.