Everything to Gain but Nothing to Lose

What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Mark 8:36, KJV


Today is December 31, the last day of the year. It has been traditional on this day for men and women everywhere to make resolutions as to what they would like to accomplish. These resolutions are usually of a physical nature. Having just finished the "feasting season" which runs from Thanksgiving up until the time the last of the Christmas goodies are consumed, many will resolve to diet and exercise. Nothing wrong with that, for we all need to be in better shape.


Many will resolve to improve their financial circumstances. From getting out of debt to saving more money to getting a better paying job, all people could stand to be healthier from a financial perspective. Again, there are many benefits from such resolves, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself financially. Then there are the more noble resolutions. These usually run along the lines of spending more time with family and being more considerate of one's spouse and children. Clearly, such goals are beneficial and important.


The problem with all such resolutions is that they are nearly all made with little thought as to the actual cost or the amount of time and effort they will require. Probably 90% of the people who make resolutions fail in the first week, because they did not really want to do something that would be hard or expensive. The offer that I have for you today is both difficult and costly. It will involve a change of habit and a great deal of thought and effort. But..


for those who will do it, for those who are honest enough to understand that you cannot have quality results without quality effort, I have an offer that cannot be matched. For this resolve involves your eternal soul. We all know that we should be worshipping on Sunday mornings, but where? We may have tried as many churches as Baskin Robbins has flavors of ice cream, only to never find one to our particular taste. We all know that we should pray more, but have usually limited such activity to prayers like, "Lord, if you are out there and can here me, please help". Such a weak prayer is as useless as it is faithless.


We also know that we should read the Bible more often. But we have children who need taken care of, work to be done, and constant interruptions that take up most of our time. With what little time we do have left, we want to relax so we can recharge our batteries for the next round of chaos. And besides, no one can really understand the Bible, otherwise there wouldn't be so many people disagreeing on it's message. And as for going to church, that place is filled with hypocrites. The preacher is usually boring and always asking for money. Besides all that, the people are unfriendly...


I could go on and on (and usually do) but you get the point. When it comes to our immortal souls, we would all like to go to Heaven, but we would prefer to do so on the cheap. "Just a little house in the corner somewhere will be fine", we might say. That shouldn't require too much time. For now, there are ballgames and parades and Hallmark specials that we could be watching.


Can we see it? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and the promise of little effort. But the narrow road that leads to life is paved with hard, but satisfying work. So here is the offer I have for you: For your most important resolution this year, make a commitment to read the Word of God. And to pray. And to worship.


For the next thirty days we will be posting a schedule that will get you through the entire New Testament. It will take about thirty minutes a day. For the next thirty days, worship with the church every first day of the week. Which church? You can get a clear and accurate description of that church as you are reading the New Testament. Look for it first in the Scriptures, and then go find it. If you can't find it at first, keep looking.


And pray! For the next thirty days make an effort to restore your relationship with God. Pray that God will help you to find His will so that you can serve Him. "But serving is not for me", you might be thinking. Then neither is Heaven! So we must stop the fairy tale notions we may have about what Christianity and religion are, and find out the truth about these vital subjects from the only reliable source available.


All this will take time and effort. Why not take thirty days to give it a try? A wise person once said when you have everything to gain by doing something, but nothing to lose, by all means do it.


You have nothing to lose over the next thirty days by resolving to do these three simple things: Read the Bible as much as you can, pray as much as you can, and worship with the church every time the doors are open. "But I do have a lot to lose", you may be thinking. "I could lose a whole month!" But let's face reality. You were going to be a month older at the end of the next thirty days anyway. Why not be thirty days wiser as well? Why not be thirty days closer to Heaven, rather than just being thirty days older?


You see, you really have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Why not do it? The 30 Day Bible Challenge begins tomorrow!