The prospect of suffering loss is something that strikes fear into the hearts of many, if not all of us. The potential loss of a home, job, money, possessions, loved ones, opportunity, reputation, and a volume of other seemingly important things may motivate us to protect ourselves so we can keep those things. We engage in activities like buying insurance, averting risks, and making contingency plans. These are all fine actions to take. But, as we make attempts to keep hold of things that are important to us, there is very little that we can truly control with our own power. While we do whatever we can, we must remember that God is the One who is ultimately in control of the circumstances of our life. Yet, there is one very important matter that we do have control over, and which we cannot survive without.
When we consider the things that we might worry about losing, it is most important that we work to protect our salvation. Our salvation is worth protecting above all. Everything else – everything – is trivial by comparison. This gift of salvation is unique in the manner that it is completely under our control, and, as a result, is something that we alone are responsible for keeping or losing.
Knowing that the gift of salvation is our most valuable possession and that all else is far less important by comparison, it is imperative that we balance our attention and invest our resources accordingly. Do we spend time keeping our relationship with God healthy? Do we spend an unnecessary amount of time, energy, and other resources trying to keep control over those things that we should trust in God to protect? By putting our faith in God to support our needs, and basing our actions on our faith, we free ourselves from the worry of this world and can focus on more important matters. We control our own destiny by the way we manage our conversion.
Paul wrote that his strengths and prior accomplishments, as measured by worldly metrics, were a liability to him relative to his spiritual conversion and growth. “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8). This perspective should be one that we all share. The possessions and advantages that we might have in this world are useless in the ultimate endeavor we seek—to be part of God’s Family.
This means that we cannot become too attached to the things of this world that we might fear losing, if such attachment causes us to compromise our relationship with God. It hurts to suffer loss in our lives, but most loss that we experience only has a temporary effect. We have to remember that the loss of our opportunity to live an eternal life is the greatest loss and the only thing for which there is no recovery. As Jesus reminds us in Luke 17:33, “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”