Trade-Up Your Bologna Sandwich
"For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me and for the gospel will save it." Mark 8:35, NIV
I don’t know how it was for you, but when I first heard the gospel and realized Jesus was calling me to follow Him – to completely surrender to His will for my life – I was a bit reluctant. I was 18-years-old and life was good. I was living large as a freshman in college, loving the party scene, dorm life and the whole college experience. I had my life mapped out: I would finish college, become a dentist, get married, have kids, play tennis and take nice vacations. I didn’t have too many cares and I would have rated my life as a solid 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10.
When Jesus began knocking on the door of my heart and calling me to surrender my life to Him, I thought it meant He wanted me to give up my amazing 8.5 life in exchange for the nice, humble, poverty-stricken, boring, religious, bland Christian life that – in my opinion – would amount to about a 1.2 on the scale.
Finally, after an eight-month internal battle over who was going to be the Lord of my life, I made the decision to surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ. I invited Him into my heart and gave Him the steering wheel of my life. That was in May 1978 and I have never looked back.
Here’s what I discovered. I thought when I surrendered to Jesus, I was trading my 8.5 life for His 1.2 life; instead I exchanged my bologna sandwich and traded up for His Thanksgiving banquet! Although I was willing to trade down and made the decision to do so, I have been pleasantly surprised by how wrong I was!
I have found it’s just like Jesus said, "…Whoever loses their life for Jesus and for the gospel will save it…." What I "gave up" pales in comparison to what I have gained. I was content with my bologna sandwich for 18 years and didn’t realize I was living like a beggar. Have there been challenges? Of course there have been, but whatever temptations, persecutions or tribulations I have faced also pale in comparison to what I have gained. I didn't know what love, joy, peace, abundance, fun, fulfillment or satisfaction were until Jesus entered my life and changed everything.
So, how about you? Is Jesus calling you to follow Him? Calling you to a complete surrender where you exchange your bologna sandwich for His big banquet feast? Don't delay – lose your life for His sake and you will never regret it.
Jesus said, "Mark My words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land – whatever – because of Me and the Message will lose out. They'll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land – but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first." (Mark 10:29, Message)
Say It: “Father, I hear You calling me to follow Jesus. Jesus, I give You my life – I surrender my ‘bologna sandwich’ life for You and the sake of the gospel. I believe in the Great Reversal and I know that whatever I give up for You and the gospel – in due season, You will return it to me multiplied many times – with the bonus of eternal life. Jesus, from this day forward, truly - You are the Lord of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
I didn't know what love, joy, peace, or satisfaction were until Jesus entered my life & changed everything.