Rarely do you hear the terms forfeit and save in the same sentence. Perhaps, you could be referring to a Little League team that may have to forfeit a game, unable to field enough players. Thus, this forfeit could save a pitcher for an opponent’s next game or start a win streak that saves their season. However, this isn’t the context of Jesus’ conversation with his twelve disciples in Mark 8.
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.
Speaking to future apostles of Acts, Jesus’ words could be limited to anyone seeking to devote their lives to full time ministry. However, the choice of vocabulary suggests something similar to closing remarks made by Moses during his farewell address in Deuteronomy 30. Life is like a series of choices, each leading you either in the right or wrong directions. Therefore, when anyone decides to follow the path of saving your own life, with each step, people are approaching the unfortunate reality of forfeiting their soul.
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess, Deuteronomy 30:15-16.
From a personal perspective, obedience either illustrates one’s investment in storing up heavenly treasures on earth or proves their divestment, clinging to the ways of this world. If your heart is where your treasure is, Matthew 6:21, then how you spend your time reveals who you are living for. Like the words of Colonel Nathan Jessup played by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, people can’t handle the truth. Since life is a marathon and not a sprint, there is time to change your course. Whatever you decide, be careful not to save yourself or else you will be in danger of forfeiting your soul.
by Jay Mankus