Summary: Discipleship is about our willingness to lose ourselves in God’s will.
"Calling All Losers"
By Rev. A. LaMar Torrence, Pastor of Cross of Life Lutheran Church
The great statesman, Winston Churchill, once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” That proverbial statement best captures the meaning of this season we call, LENT. Lent is that liturgical season of the church’s calendar year, whereby we focus on the cost of following Christ. Lent is a time of penance, prayer, preparation for or recollection of our baptism in Christ as we prepare for the celebration of Easter. Observance of Lent is as old as the 4th century. It begins on Ash Wednesday, the 40th weekday before Easter and it ends at midnight Holy Saturday. Lent is that time of year, whereby we turn our attention to the cross. We focus on that which God, the father has given us and we are challenged to go forth and do likewise. LENT is about losing our lives by giving them to Christ and getting eternal life by finding Christ within us. Lent is about loss. (Tell someone, “this season is about loss.”) It’s about losing ourselves in order to find our lives. Jesus declares that he who loves his life loses it and he who hates his life will keep it for eternal life. Where you and I are now, in our lives, in our struggles, in our cares, and in our issues, it is all about losing. One can say in fact that this is a season for losers. Now, a loser by our social standards is one who has failed to accomplish any relevant success or significance in his life. But by God’s standards a loser is one who has totally immerse his life in the will and way of Jesus. This is a season for losers. Jesus is looking for losers.
Now many of us are saying to ourselves, I’ve already lost so much. What else is there for me to lose? How much more do I have to endure in order to come out of this experience with some sense of dignity? How much more can I lose? You lost a husband or wife, a son or daughter. You’ve a lost a job, your health, and even your peace of mind. You’ve lost some friends, your sense of purpose, your direction, and your strength to endure. Some of us have lost so much. We have lost and buried love ones. We have divorced and lost lovers and spouses. We have lost jobs and forgone opportunities. And now, we are concern about losing more- losing our love ones and friends in Iraq, losing our children to the streets, losing our husbands to the other woman. Losing members to other churches and complacency. Losing our control and voice in the activities of the church. We are concern about losing.
And yet, with all that you have lost, God wants you to know still that there is more of you to lose. The essence of the gospel-the good news of Jesus Christ- is about loss. An authentic gospel begins with loss. It begins with dying. It begins with the cross. And if the gospel that you hear preached on the radio, the television, or wherever, does not begin with a cross, if it does not begin by telling you that something in you has to die, it is not the true gospel. The true gospel is not just about you coming to Jesus as you are, it’s about you being baptized in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s about you losing your former life and gaining a new life in Christ. This season is about losing. It’s about loss.
Now right there many of us have a problem. We have trouble coming to church and losing something. We came to get something. We came to get a blessing-be it financial, relational, and spiritual. We came to get an encouraging word, some hope for tomorrow, and some assurance that everything is going to be all right. Many of us came to get something or someone. We did not come to lose. We have been taught to come to church seeking a blessing, praying to get -never to lose. We pray, “Lord, give me a financial breakthrough. Lord, give me some peace of mind. Lord, give me a better husband. Lord, give me a well-behaved child.” We come out to get and not to lose. After all, who sets out on a journey to lose? That doesn’t make sense. We have been told that in this world, it is best to be a winner. It’s best to get all that you can get and to do all that you can to hold on to what you have gotten. No one wants to lose.