He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?” – Mark 8:34-36 NRSV
BY REV. JENNIFER HESEBECK - EXCELSIOR AND ZION UMC
Jason wanted to buy Tubby's old bike. Tubby got a new one for his birthday and would sell Jason his old one for $10. It was a great deal.
The problem was that Jason didn't have any money. His cousin, Scott, in another town, was making good money with his Kool-Aid stand. So, Jason decided to do the same. First he needed a stand. He went into his dad's shop and got a piece of plywood, a saw, some nails and a hammer. With the stand built, Jason now needed a sign. He went to his brother's room and got some poster board. He painted a sign and nailed it on the front.
But there was one problem: no Kool-Aid and no money to buy Kool-Aid. So, Jason went to his sister. She loaned him the money: 50 cents for the Kool-Aid, and 5 cents interest on the loan. Jason thought, “I'll make that much and more!”
Business was great. Tubby bought three cups. Dad bought one after work. Jason even had to add water to make the Kool-Aid go farther. He would shake the box every few minutes and listen to the coins ring – and Jason would sing, "I'm in the money."
That night Jason counted his money. He was so excited! $13! Enough to buy the bike and some comic books to boot. He ran to tell his dad the news. And then he learned a hard lesson.
The wood was for a special project Dad had planned, it cost $12. Jason's heart broke as he gave his dad the $12. All that work for $1.
"No," his brother said. "You owe me 50 cents for the poster board because I need it for school." Jason stood there looking at 50 cents.
What a raw deal! All that work, all that time, all that excitement – and all he had left was 50 cents.
"No," his sister said. "You owe me 55 cents."
Jason handed her the 50 cents and said, "I'll have to owe you the nickel."
Jason walked away, his hands in his pockets and his shoulders slumped saying: "I didn't even get a cup of Kool-Aid."
What was Jason's mistake? He did not count the costs.
Think about this question by Jesus: "For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?"
What would it profit you if you were to acquire or gain everything you ever dreamed of; if, in the process, or as a result, you lost your soul? Would you make that deal with the devil? Many would say "yes," if they were truthful.
They’re not really sure that this religion and heaven thing is true but they are sure about the pleasures and happiness of worldliness, so they go for it. They take their chances.
They think they’ve got it made. They have stuff; money, all kinds of things – without God. But they forget (or deny) the time of settling up. They don’t count the cost along the way. There’s only one ticket to heaven and they aren’t buying, because they’ve already sold out. Their "stuff" is more important than a relationship with Jesus. Talk about poor investment choices.
If Jason had known the whole story he never would have gone into the Kool-Aid business.
If the world knew the whole story they would not get into the worldliness business.
But right now I’m asking: "What matters to you?"