If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. (Mark 8:35)
I think I just figured out why I’ve been so irritable lately. Oh, you wouldn’t know because you don’t have to live with me, but ask my wife or my son and they’ll tell you, I haven’t been a happy person to live with.
Even this morning, all by myself, I was irritable. First, I got up late. I must have hit the snooze button four times. Yes, it’s such a great feeling to go back to sleep, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. But here’s the deal: for that wonderful feeling of going back to sleep, you have to endure the awful feeling of waking up each time. And then once you’re up, you’re late to boot. It adds up to a disadvantage. No wonder I’m so irritable; I had to wake up four times this morning!
And then I get to the kitchen only to find that Marti has smeared Comet all over the sink and the counter. She does this once in a while. She works the Comet into a paste and spreads it all over and leaves it all night for me to clean up in the morning. And of course, before I can use the counter to make coffee or stack the dishes out of the dishwasher, I have to get this stuff off. I stare at the blue-green mess and realize I’m staring at 15 more minutes of delay to my already late morning.
It’s not an easy job. The stuff foams up like crazy making you have to wring out the sponge a hundred times. Then you have to take a brush to the grout, because if you don’t get it all out, you have blue-green, Comet-colored grout all day. Of course Marti does this on purpose because she knows she’s going to get her counter scrubbed in the morning. I have no choice. And so, martyr that I am, I begin scrubbing and wringing-out, scrubbing and wringing-out, scrubbing and wringing-out, and cursing my wife the whole way. (If I bang the brush hard enough against the back of the counter, I might just wake her up. Ha! Serves her right!) I am so irritated, I’m irritating myself.
And then I finally sit down at my computer to write and contemplate skipping the Bible reading for the day since I’m so late, but it’s a good thing I don’t, because what I read is this: “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it” (Mark 8:35 NLT).
Oh my, here I am, keeping my life for myself. This whole morning so far I have thought of nothing but me. Me, only. No prayer for my children, no thought of my wife except for blaming her, no thought of all of you, or prayer for you, and no thought of the Lord. Nope, just me, and I’m irritated.
If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it.
I’m losing my life. How long do I want to do this? I suddenly realize this is all up to me. I can hold on to my life, or I can let it go and live for something – someone – else. Might as well lose it. If I keep my life for myself, I’m losing it anyway.
Lose it and use it for someone else. Lose it and use it. I think I can remember that. This is your life: keep it for yourself, or lose it and use it, because once you’ve lost it, you can use it for someone else.
Besides, you don’t get your life anyway until you lose it.