A Question to Live By!

Tim Brown

READ : Matthew 16:21-28

For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? (v. 26)

Today, the Word of the Lord follows the curvature of a question mark and waits for us to answer. Jesus is asking us such a question today: “For what will it profit you if you gain the whole world but forfeit your life?”

For a culture intoxicated with its own self-absorption, Jesus’ question will be difficult to answer. In all my pastoral experience I cannot remember a person about to die asking for one last review of their stock portfolio. And if something is not of ultimate importance at the end of your life, can it really be of ultimate importance anywhere in the middle? Hardly!

A few years ago the celebrated Russian poet Yevtushenko stunned the graduating class at Juniata College in Huntington, Pennsylvania, with these words: “Forget the vulgar, insulting, patronizing fairy tale that has been hammered into your heads since childhood that the main purpose of life is the pursuit of happiness. It is not! The main purpose of life is the pursuit of holiness – a holiness that comes through entering the suffering of others.”

Jesus leaves us today with a question. And the answer to that question is . . .


Father let the ink and page of our answer to Jesus’ question be written in acts of obedience. Amen.