“What people resist is not change, per se, but loss.”1—Ronald Heifetz et al
I knew a man who was so confident in one company’s leadership that, when it issued stock, he mortgaged his house and plowed all of its equity into that business, willing to lose everything in the belief the company would return more on his money than any other feasible option. His faith was well-rewarded, for his investment grew quickly and steadily, tripling in a few short years, and before the man died, he had the opportunity to tell the company’s CEO, “You allowed me to realize the American dream.”
We look to our salvation as gain, and rightly so, for what we have in Christ is too vast to be measured. Yet transformation into His likeness is change, and change requires loss—continually putting worldly values behind us. “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it,”2 Jesus told his disciples in private. And to an immense crowd gathered before Him, He taught, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”3 In turn, and much like the investor who staked his confidence entirely in the company’s leadership, Paul sold all for Christ, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”4
What former treasure did Paul now wheel to the curb as trash? Legalistic righteousness, impeccable lineage, unsurpassed education, and worldly accomplishment for starters. He mortgaged safety for danger, traded freedom for imprisonment, and exchanged esteem for ridicule—all in the confidence of the gain that lay ahead of him. So I think, what do I need to drop in the dumpster to make more room for Christ and to serve the people He loves? The yen for conditional acceptance has done me no good, and frankly I’m tired of it—that can go. Comfort and convenience? Those are precious to me, but they render me ineffective in the Kingdom, which nears with each passing day. Toss them, too. Oh, yeah, then there’s that…
Lord Jesus, lead me in loss as I follow you in gain. Grace me to realize the Heavenly dream. Amen.
1 Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, Marty Linsky, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, (Boston: Harvard Business Press), 22.
2 John 12:24
3 Matthew 13:44
4 Philippians 3:8