Our scripture this week is Matthew 16:21-28.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Jesus asks us “what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (v. 26) and of course the answer is “nothing”. While our souls are a gift we are charged with using well on earth, we can do nothing to redeem them ourselves. Only through the sacrifice Jesus made for us can we be saved.

We need to understand that our faith is the key to using our gifts properly. Believing that we have been forgiven and can live new lives is the start of faith. Knowing God’s love enables us to go into the world and share the gifts we have been given for the good of all.

We can only be truly happy when we accept the relationship Jesus offers and our actions show our gratitude for that connection. He energizes and empowers us to be His representatives. Without His love and guidance we can do nothing, but with Him we can change our world.

Loving Lord, thank You for the gift of relationship and love to be used for the good of Your children. May we be grateful participants in the coming of Your kingdom. Amen.

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