January 22, 2020
Loss or Gain?
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
The expression “lose your shirt” often refers to a number of different types of losses, whether it be monetary, personal possessions, a business endeavor, or something else entirely. Generally speaking, you do not want to “lose your shirt.”
Several years ago, my son gave me a shirt which he no longer wanted. It was a heavy-duty, long-sleeved, grey work shirt. I became attached to the shirt not only for sentimental reasons, but also because it was comfortable. In fact, I became so attached to it that I wanted to wear it all of the time. My wife became somewhat concerned and mentioned to me that someday that shirt might “come up missing” if I did not use more discretion in my wearing of it. We enjoyed a good laugh, and I passed it off as a mild threat to my obsession with the shirt.
Time went on, and one day, as I was working around our place, I took the shirt off and placed it on top of the car trunk and proceed to go about my work. Later that day, I came home and realized that my wife had taken the car to run some errands, not knowing that my favorite shirt was on the back of the car. I drove around the block looking for the shirt, but soon realized that it had a new owner. My wife viewed the situation as a happy coincidence, as she had wanted to get rid of that shirt for some time, but I was not happy—I had literally lost my shirt!
Today’s focus verse offers some consolation when we think about loss. The Apostle Paul wrote that all things (including the loss of a beloved shirt) work for good to them that love God. After serving the Lord for many years, my wife and I have learned that God has a way of ordaining circumstances so that we can always have a settled mind, knowing God is working for our good. People often fret when material things break down, wear out, become obsolete—or get lost! However, these are just ways that God has of showing us that the things which are seen are temporal, and the things which are unseen are eternal. When we can realize that fact, we have actually made a great gain, not a loss.
God’s ultimate purpose for each of us is to conform to the image of Christ. Indeed, the Apostle Paul was willing to suffer the loss of all things to win Christ. So it is not such a bad thing to lose your shirt!