Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Easy Thing? Or the One Thing?

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NLT)

The people wanted a crucifixion, and Pontius Pilate went along with it. He sent Jesus away to be crucified.

Pilate gave up everything for power and prestige. And how did it work out for him? According to history, he ultimately suffered banishment from high office to a place called Gaul. There he was left broken and destitute, unwanted by Caesar, and all alone.

And one night under the cover of darkness, Pontius Pilate, the great Roman governor who could have received forgiveness from the Son of God, went out and hung himself. A workman found his body. His craving for popularity cost him everything. Had he chosen to, he could have believed in Jesus on the spot, and Jesus would have forgiven him.

Like Pilate, some people will choose a career over Jesus. It isn’t that you can’t have both. But some, in the pursuit of success, are willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to succeed. Have you ever seen a book about how to be a failure? Yet there are plenty of books about how to be a success. Everyone wants to be successful.

Now, I’m not advocating failure. But you are not a success if you sacrifice greater things in your pursuit of it. For instance, if you sacrifice your integrity, your standards, your friends, your family, or even your faith to get ahead, then you are not successful.

Alfred Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success. Rather, try to become a man of value.”

There must come a point in our lives when we start thinking about things that are more important than simply being successful. There must come a point when we start thinking about significance over success, when we start thinking about the purpose of our lives.

Why did God put me on this earth to begin with? Why am I here? These are important questions. The Bible tells us that we’ve been placed on this earth to glorify God with our lives and to produce spiritual fruit.

Of course, we have vocations, and whatever we do, we should work hard at it. We should do the best that we can. But we should never sacrifice our principles.

A lot of people are trying to figure out the one thing they should be chasing after in life. Meanwhile, we can find the answer to that question in the Bible.

Writing to the believers in Philippi, the apostle Paul said, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8 NLT).

Pontius Pilate chose the easy thing over the one thing. He chose success over significance. He chose popularity over Jesus Christ. It was the trap of compromise. And compromise always will lead to ruin.

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