He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, Christian missionary martyred in 1956 in Ecuador by the Huaorani tribesmen (called at the time Auca Indians).
His wife, Elizabeth, later returned to convert the tribe that had killed her husband. This quote from Jim Elliot is one of the most powerful arguments for giving your life to Christ and then entering with all your heart the path of discipleship all the while focusing on what is eternal that I have ever heard.
The Bible agrees and is replete with examples of the significance of things that have eternal value and they are not the things of this world. Sometimes to gain the eternal we must give up the transitory.
The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is Zion’s treasure. Isaiah 33:5-6
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 timothy 6:18-19
He [Moses] chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Hebrews 12:25-26
This understanding about the nature of treasure is important because of the fundamental insight about human nature that Jesus revealed.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34
As a result God wants us to consider the things that are eternal as our true treasure, which will help to keep our hearts focused on what is eternal. Just like Jim Elliott, we should give up what we cannot keep: our life and our human treasures (home, possessions, status, etc.), since by doing so we stand to gain what we cannot lose: eternal life as a child of God.
Let’s see. Do I hold onto what amounts to a handful of common beads when I am offered eternal riches beyond measure? For as Paul so clearly told us:
What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9
Hard choiceNot! So Christian, choose. What is important to you?