“This is why you must now know…that the Lord is God…and that there is no other.” These words Moses speaks to the children of Israel in today’s first reading from Deuteronomy 4. He goes on, “You must keep his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper…” Words that should echo in our hearts thousands of years later.
In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 16, Jesus talks about taking up one’s cross. Then He asks a question. (Rhetorical, I hope.) “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Other translations say “lose his soul.”) In the business world, companies have to do a P&L, or Profit & Loss statement. We also need to do this in our spiritual lives. This will give us the answer to Jesus’ question.
Let’s see…I made a few hundred (or thousand or million or whatever) bucks, but I cheated-lied-turned my back on God to get it. The balance sheet just doesn’t work. Perhaps before we act, another good business practice should come into play: the Cost/Benefit analysis. If the cost is going to be our soul, then there is no benefit that could possibly outweigh it. Bottom line: deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus. The final payoff will be incalculable!
Father, forgive us for those times when we compromise our integrity for material gain. Help us to always look at the eternal consequences before we make decisions. Amen.