“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” John 12:24–25
We have our choice. We may live for self and take good care of our lives (not exposing them to danger, not making sacrifices, looking out for our own interests,) and we may prosper in the world. People will commend our good sense and congratulate us on our success. We may reach old age healthy and well preserved, and greatly enjoy our accumulated honours and possessions. That is one way of living. There seems to be something pleasant about such a life, but really it is only the grain of wheat preserved in the barn and kept from falling into the ground. This life abides alone, well enough kept, perhaps, but with no increase. It has been no blessing in the world. It has done nothing for the glory of God. It has fed no hunger and shared no good news. It has won no heavenly reward. That is the outcome of selfishness.
The other way is to forget self; not to think of, nor care for one’s own life, but to throw it away in obedience to God and in unselfish service. People will say you are foolish to waste your life, to sacrifice yourself for the sake of others in Christ’s cause. But was the Lord Jesus foolish when He went to the cross? Let those of us who are redeemed be the answer. Were the early church martyrs foolish when they stood boldly for the truth—were such lives wasted and thrown away? Are missionaries who leave family and home and travel to distant lands foolish in their cause? Is any life that is willingly given to fall into the ground and die a wasted and worthless life?
The way to make nothing of our lives is to be very careful with them. The way to make our lives eternally successful is to do with them just what the Lord Jesus did with His.