“More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8
The loss of all things…
Does Jesus really want us to give up everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – for Him?
Does He want us to not only give up evil, and worldly attachments, but even good things? Does He want us to forsake ALL for Him – even the love of others?
I’ve heard it said that God is a jealous lover. He is not satisfied with a portion of our hearts: He wants them whole and complete. So how do we reconcile His call to “love our neighbor as ourselves” with this extreme call to love Him with our entire being?
That’s the crazy thing about love. It asks us to do the impossible.
Saints and theologians have pondered God’s call to love our neighbor and yet remain detached from the world. St. John Eudes wrote “It is not enough for a Christian to be free from vice and to abhor every kind of sin. Beyond that it is necessary to work with diligence and resolution at the task of becoming perfectly detached from the world and from the things of the world.” One could argue that he was referring to only worldly things, not relationships, but he goes on to say “By the things of the world I mean everything that the world so highly values and loves and strives after, namely, the honors and praises of men, vain pleasures and satisfactions, wealth and temporal comforts, friendships and affections based on flesh and blood, on self-love and selfish interests.”
Yep, even friendships.
I’ve learned the hard way that it really isn’t reasonable to become too attached to things of the world, including relationships. I can and indeed must continue to love my neighbor, since the commandment to do so remains. What I must remember is that there is no guarantee that that love will be returned, nor should I expect it to. The Lord gave me the example with His life. He laid it down for His friends, who proceeded to abandon and even betray him.
Our missionaries are wonderful examples of loving with detachment. They lay down their lives at the feet of those they serve, but they do not expect anything in return. Often their attempts to share the Gospel are ignored or even met with hostility. They are able to continue in their ministry because they realize they are not there to have their emotional needs met or to collect “friends.” Their service is a direct expression of their relationship with Christ, the One who conquers all, loves all, and understands all. When they are met with betrayal, when they are overcome with disappointment at the harshness of life, they can turn to Him, the only friend who matters, after all.
He will never let them – or us – down.