“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36 ESV)
Years ago, we had a tradition of enjoying a good roast beef dinner after worship on Sunday. To minimize Sunday work, the vegetables would be prepared on Saturday evening. The roast would be put in the oven before we left for church, and we arrived home to the aroma of a lovely roast beef dinner. Add in Yorkshire pudding, which my wife knew how to make to perfection, and it was always a memorable treat.
One Sunday in 1982, our daughter and her husband, who had just returned from their honeymoon, joined us.
We also invited a young mother who had just come from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where her husband had met a sudden, tragic death. She brought her three-year-old twin girls, who were still in shock from the sudden loss of their father.
We were living on the 32nd floor of a waterfront condominium in Toronto, and our dining room, with floor-to-ceiling windows, had a magnificent view of Lake Ontario and the Toronto Island Airport.
Suddenly, we heard the police boat siren, and we saw it racing towards the airport. At the same time, we saw a small airplane coming in to land. Apparently, the pilot knew that he was in trouble, and he had radioed ahead for help. But it was obvious that the plane would fall short of the runway.
We were all talking excitedly, but particularly listening to our son-in-law. He was knowledgeable about the cost of such a plane, and he was telling us how much money would be lost.
Suddenly, we heard a little voice say, “What about the people?”
The room went silent. The adults had been speculating about the cost of the plane when a three-year-old, who had just lost her father, brought us back to what was really important.
The plane went into shallow water just before land, the people on board climbed out safely, and the police boat rescued them.
I never learned the cost of the damaged plane or, indeed, any other details of the incident. But to this day, I can still hear that little girl preaching a powerful sermon. She was telling the adults in the room that they had their priorities wrong. We were concerned about the loss of an airplane, excited to watch and see if it could make it to the runway.
That lesson has helped me, over the years, to realize that Jesus’ teaching in today’s verse should be our guiding light. It is so easy to make the acquisition of earthly goods our highest priority. It is natural to want to enjoy nice things. But when all is said and done, they are of no value to us. Only what we’ve done for Christ will last.
Prayer: Dear Father, help us to realize what is important. Help us to remember that Jesus, who gave His life for our salvation, taught us that we must be prepared to lose our life to save it. In His name, we pray. Amen.
Vincent Walter <[email protected]>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission