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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of February 1, 2021

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot wrote that in his journal shortly before giving his life on the mission field. He knew that the cost of the cause of Christ is everything you have.

However, the things you give up to Christ (e.g. control of your own life) are things you couldn't keep anyway, but the things you gain as a result of faith in Christ (e.g. eternal life) are things you cannot lose.

Jesus said, in Matthew 6:19-21, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Everything you have here on Earth will decay and rust away -- you'll lose it all. However, what you store up in heaven you cannot lose.

The author of Ecclesiastes, who was probably King Solomon, recalled, in Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, how he had done great things and accumulated much wealth. Yet, he realized that accumulation here on Earth is useless: I undertook great projects ... I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. ... I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. ... Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:4,9-11). Even though he had everything he wanted, it was all pointless, because it didn't satisfy and couldn't last.

Take some advice from these passages. Trade the things you can't keep (your life, your money, your possessions) for the things you can't lose (eternal life, righteousness, a relationship with God).

You need both blessings and difficulties, because one without the other is neither.

People who live in affluence for all of life (such as many people in North America and Western Europe) can easily become so accustomed to wealth, blessings, and prosperity that they can easily forget what blessings they actually have. However, if those possessions are taken away, those people will certainly look at life with a new perspective, realizing how much they really had.

You don't realize how much you have until you don't have it anymore.

God knows the importance of balance; that is, the importance of having both blessings and difficulties. There are several scriptures that speak about this balance. For example in 1 Peter 4:13, we are told: Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. Notice how we participate both in suffering and in joy.

Similarly, in 2 Corinthians 1:7, Paul wrote this to the church in Corinth: And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. They experienced both suffering and comfort.

Don't become too comfortable with what you have, because when you forget that the things you have are a blessing from God and when you start to assume that they are guaranteed possessions, it is quite possible that God will take them away from you in order to teach you that you need both blessings and difficulties, because one without the other is neither.