REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on August 27, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Meeting a Billionaire-Turned-Missionary”
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul?
In Korean, a tycoon is called a “jaebeol” (i.e., a billionaire), and I’ve never met one in person until I went to Dominican Republic in 2014 where I met a missionary named HK who, in 1980, had become the president of the top steel company in Korea at the age of 29. Enjoying a lifestyle that most people could only dream of, he rubbed shoulders with the top businessmen and politicians of Korea; but it all ended one day. In speaking to him, I learned how this ambitious man (at one time, he had thought of buying the Major League team Montreal Expos) not only became a believer, but a man totally dedicated to serve the Lord on the mission field.
So, what did it take to change him? Personal failings and a downturn economy that sunk his conglomerate, leaving him almost penniless, as well as a grave illness that almost ended his life and his son’s. Looking back, however, he has no regrets because the new life in Christ and doing the Lord’s “business” is so much better and significant than what he had before.
No doubt, Mr. HK was well on his way to “gain the whole world” but “forfeit his soul” since, while he was on the top of the world, God didn’t mean much to him. For many, losing it all would mean bitterness, despair, even suicide, but for HK, it turned into an opportunity to encounter his Creator, who had “created [him] in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [him] to do” (Eph. 2:10). In short, being given a second chance, he took it.
So, has your life—your finances, relationships, or even health—been tough these days? Instead of seeing them only as meddling obstacles, view them also as an opportunity to get closer to God. Paul, referring to the hardships in his life, wrote, “This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God. . . . On him we have set our hope” (2 Cor. 1:9-10). Take a moment to reflect; perhaps you may hear a whisper from God, telling you to turn to Him and begin to really live for the Lord.
Prayer: Oh gracious Lord, I praise and thank you for allowing difficulties in my path to open my spiritual eyes. Your immense concern for my insignificant life is hard to fathom since you are the God of universe, but the fact that you do, makes my life that much significant. Help me to live for you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 4
Lunch Break Study
Read Matt. 19:16-24 (ESV): And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God
Questions to Consider
1. What is wrong with the question that this rich young man asks? What’s the irony?
2. What kept him from following Jesus? In what sense did he forfeit his soul?
3. Looking at your life right now, are you trying to gain the world without God, or losing your life (making costly choices) for the sake of the gospel (to live for and to serve God)?
1. He believed that “getting” eternal life hinged on doing good things. The irony, of course, is that he was inflicted with great spiritual insecurity, despite feeling that he impeccably kept all the laws.
2. The identity and the meaning of life for this young man were overtly dependant on his socio-economic status. The money he possessed, which provided more tangible and immediate benefit to him, was his security blanket instead of God. In the end, he chose to continue to hold on to that.
3. We need to a periodic check as to how we are spending our time, money and our best energy. If the bulk of them are spent on promoting my happiness and building my own “empire,” it may be time to repent and make changes.
Looking at how you spent this day, would you say you were motivated by “gaining the whole world” and “forfeiting the soul,” or trying to live for God? Either way, He still loves you but ask God to help you to do better tomorrow.