Whenever we hear of something new or unique or even tempting, we ask something like, What’s in it for me? A new iPhone is advertised: What new features are in it for me? A company comes up with a unique kind of umbrella: Will it work better for me than the one I usually use? A new beverage is introduced: Will it fully satisfy my taste buds?
In trying to determine what’s in it for you and me, we have to be careful where we are going to place our trust. Someone who claims to be the right source for showing us the benefits of a certain product or plan better have the proper credentials with proven results. There are a lot of scammers out there that we have to be on the watch for. Even those who are “professionals” and have degrees after their names have to be scrutinized closely lest we be taken in by them and charged hundreds of dollars in the process.
This brings me to a joke: A pastor’s wife called a veterinarian who makes house calls and told him her dog was very sick and wouldn’t move. When the vet arrived, he found the dog on the floor with his feet in the air.
He examined the dog but there was no response. He reached into his satchel, pulled out a live cat, moved the cat over the dog several times, and then put the cat back in his bag.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but your dog is dead,” the vet said. “That will be $430.”
“Four hundred thirty dollars! For what?” the woman exclaimed.
“The fee is $30 for the house call and $400 for the CAT scan,” the vet replied. (Henry Doughty, More Holy Hilarity)
For Christians, the tried and true method for finding what’s in it for us regarding satisfaction and success is found in the Bible. God’s inspired Word provides the foundation for helping us determine who we can trust so we aren’t taken in by the deceivers and pretenders of this world. Let’s face it: There are a lot of religious “professionals” who lure other, unsuspecting victims by promising them miracle cures, untold wealth, and unending bliss if they simply do as instructed—like send a tax-free donation and get a free something-or-other for acting “in faith.”
Jesus said to be on guard, especially in the last days before his return, so as not to be fooled by such people: “And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him; for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect,” (Mark 13:21-22, New American Standard Bible, NASB). Referring to the appointed time of his return, Jesus went on to say, “Take heed, keep on the alert, for you do not know when the appointed time is,” (v. 33).
If you sincerely want to know what’s in it for you, you need to find out the truth before you act in haste. As they say, you need “to look before you leap” into something that ends up bringing false promises and bitter disappointments. To help us determine the truth, it’s probably better to ask, What’s in it that will provide the best for me?
If the rich young ruler who came to Jesus would have asked that question, I think he would have been happier: Matthew 19:16–30, the Gospel of Mark 10:17–31 and the Gospel of Luke 18:18–30. He simply wanted to know how he could obtain eternal life. Since he was rich, he thought he could earn his way toward salvation. What was in it for him was to live forever by taking the easy way for he had plenty of money. And he felt he could easily and conveniently be a good person and buy his way into the kingdom of God.
Jesus was soon to point out the fallacy of this young man’s thinking. It’s not about what’s in it for me but what’s best for me such as in this case of the young man’s wealth. For if this ruler’s life was as morally sound as he proudly claimed (“I’ve kept all of God’s commandments all my life!”), then he was well on his way to qualify for his reward. But Jesus wasn’t convinced. He knew the young man’s weakness. For what was best for this wealthy man was also the hardest thing he could ever imagine: Selling all he possessed and giving his money to the poor.
Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, *said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:21-23)
One thing that strikes me about this passage is where Mark reports, “Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him….” It was out of love that Jesus spoke the truth to him. It was out of the love that Jesus was looking out for the young man’s best interests. It was out of love that Jesus gave him the answer of what was best for him if he really was interested in the kind of treasure Jesus had to offer including eternal life in God’s kingdom.
It’s also out of love that Jesus wants us to have the best and be the best for the sake of following him as well as being ready to enter his kingdom when he returns. What we want, however, may not be the best and could be the worst if we don’t pursue God’s will for our lives, and seek his kingdom first above anything else (Matthew 6:33). May our response to Jesus be positive and not negative like the rich man who walked away dejected and disappointed because he just could not accept the terms and conditions the Lord presented to him out of love.
Like Jesus wanted the rich young ruler to know, we must also understand what is truly in it for us might well mean giving up something important that we possess. Is one willing to give that up for the kind of eternal treasure the Lord offers? What’s in it for you and me depends upon the decision we make for giving all that we are and all that we have in preparation for the coming kingdom of God.
What’s in it for us can only be appeciated and expected if we offer our lives and all we have for the Lord’s glory and praise. Here’s Hillsong United singing, “Lord, I Offer You My Life”: http://youtu.be/FTLGBfv4xaM
Good News to YOU!