Recently I ran across the following statement of Jesus:
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
The words “my sake” stuck out to me as if I’d never read them before. When I look back on the past year, it has felt at times consumed by cleaning up messes for my kids’ sake, doing laundry for my family’s sake, and mentoring others for their personal growth’s sake. Then when I haven’t exactly gotten the appreciation or acknowledgement that has felt due to me, I’ve easily become self-pitying, angry, resentful, bitter.
Jesus words here are simple, yet profound. “Give up your life for my sake.” That is when it dawned on me: Giving up my life repeatedly for anyone else’s sake is discouragingly unfulfilling! It literally sucks the life out of me. I watch my life trickle away into the abyss of peanut butter sandwiches and another empty container of disinfectant wipes. I lose my life. And I get angry and self-centered about it. The thoughtful and kind person I thought I once was has disappeared, only to have been replaced by an uptight woman with frequent emotional breakdowns. They often don’t notice my behind-the-scenes deep cleaning efforts. They sometimes don’t see the value of clean clothes enough to care. They are still too young to comprehend the selfless inconvenience it is to me to make yet another mess just for the fun of playing with paints. They don’t know how much anguish in prayer and labor of heart it takes to counsel them.
But He notices. He knows the value. He comprehends fully. He knows. And when I embrace this reality in my mind and heart, when I give up my life for His sake, I’m happy to serve. I’m glad to give. I don’t mind when others don’t notice.
When I give up my life for His sake, I get my life back. Just like He said I would.