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God’s Word for You

Luke 17:30-33 whoever loses his life will preserve it

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, November 26, 2018

30 “So it will be on the day the Son of man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his possessions inside, should go down to get them. In the same way, no one in the field should go back for anything.  32 Remember Lot’s wife!  33 Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”

The simple mathematics of Jesus’ warning is fearsome. In Noah’s time, eight souls were saved (Lenski: “not even ten”). In the destruction of Sodom in Lot’s time, four souls were saved (“not even five”)—“Remember Lot’s wife!” No one will have the time to go and grab anything. No one should even try. When God shut up the ark’s door on Noah and his family, they didn’t scramble to run home and grab anything (Genesis 7:16). When Lot hesitated to leave Sodom, the angels grabbed him by the hand and pulled them out of the city to safety (Genesis 19:16). Jesus’ point here is that the end will be sudden, and we should be prepared for it.

On the rooftop? No time to climb down and grab your wallet. In the field? No time to run back for your warm coat. In midwestern terms, when the tornado is on top of you, it’s time to get your nose in the dirt, period. Keep your priorities straight. Jesus also reminds us: “Remember Lot’s wife!” When the destruction came, she was pulled out of the city by the angels along with her family, but she couldn’t bear to leave her life there, and she turned back to look—and she died, turning into a pillar of salt. We might struggle with the process by which she was turned to salt, but the simple truth is that she died because she did not obey.

Verse 33 is similar to other sayings from Jesus: Matthew 10:39, 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24 and John 12:25. These are perhaps echoed by Jeremiah 17:4, “Through your own fault you will lose the inheritance I gave you.” Here, it is losing one’s life, letting go of one’s attachment to possessions and earthly things. This shows our devotion to Christ. It is not shunning possessions like a hermit or a monk, but the constant, daily, turning away from any devotion to these things that shows our faith. If God gives me a coin, I should not despise the coin or bury it (Luke 19:20) but use it in God’s service. The same is even true of life itself. If with my very life I can serve my Lord, share the gospel, or defend my faith, then that is what I should do. It is even more true of sins! I should be able to give up my attachment to foul language, or greed, or other temptations, for the sake of serving my Lord. If I sever my attachment to things, to possessions, and throw all my devotion to Christ, then I am ready for his return whether I am on a rooftop or in the field, or anywhere else. Then I can pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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