Risking All to Gain More

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews” (John 3:1).

We journey back to the first verse of this chapter describing Nicodemus’ encounter with Jesus. Nicodemus held a high office and, no doubt, many envied him. But he came seeking counsel from Jesus, and did so at great risk. He risked his reputation and his standing with local leaders. He also stood to lose prestige among the people if he gave up his lofty position. But the Apostle Paul shared this experience, and wrote about it:

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8).

Both of these men had something that most people do not: extraordinary status. People will spend a lifetime trying to gain a status or position in life. Nicodemus and Paul attained it, but risked it for the opportunity of knowing Christ. But we should not suppose these men were poor thinkers or poor businessmen. They never gave up everything to their hurt; they gave up everything to gain much more. Christians need to think this way as they evaluate their lives.

It might be useful to draw up a comparison of sorts. On one side of a ledger, write down what you had, but lost in Christ. On the other side, write down what you gained. If you mentioned “eternal life,” then you could really stop writing. What can compare with an endless existence beyond the grave with God? But we could also write down other things we gained, such as fellowship with God, new friends in Christ, the blessings of prayer, and much more.

When we get bogged down in life’s battles, we sometimes lose sight of what we really have in Christ. We didn’t make a bad deal when we came to God. We made the deal of lifetime, if we can call it a deal, and nothing can compare to what we have in Christ.

The eye of faith looks beyond the spoils and rewards of this life, which are so fleeting and empty. Many Christians gave up much when they turned their lives to God, but they gained so much more. They gained a new name in glory and the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

Sometimes people counsel us not to compare our life with others. But this sort of comparison will encourage us! Compare where you were with where you now are. If you’re fretting that serving God keeps you from gaining more of this world, retrace your steps. Serving God demonstrates wisdom and good priorities. Praise God for His unspeakable grace!

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