November 24 (Matthew 10:39)
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (NLT)
I have always read this verse as if it were speaking about the things of life such as material possessions and personal goals that may not be in accordance with God’s will. The way I was reading it, I should focus less on my career, daily problems, and getting the latest album by my favorite artist and more on what God has called me to do, the result of which would be that I would find real life. This is not necessarily a wrong reading, but it is nowhere close to what Jesus is actually saying.
There are multiple words for “life” in ancient Greek, and the one used in this verse is the same one in Matthew 10:28, just eleven verses earlier. “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” “Wait a minute,” you say. “I don’t see the word ‘life’ in that verse.” That is because English translators usually use a different word in verse 28. They use “soul.”
The same Greek word, psyche, is used in both verses, and that puts an entirely different spin on verse 39. Read that verse again with “soul” in place of “life.” It carries a stronger punch, doesn’t it? Jesus is not asking us to give up just a few pieces of our lives to Him. He is asking us to surrender our whole lives, our souls, our very essence to Him. Do you think the one who made you, who knows you better than you know yourself, and loves you better than anyone ever could would be satisfied with anything less?
Jesus, I offer you the words of a hymn from the bottom of my heart. “I surrender all. I surrender all. All to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.” I give you all that I am, Lord, not merely my time, my possessions, or my thoughts, but the very essence of my soul. Amen.