The Blog of Pastor Mike Wilkins
"The long run" referred to in the title of this blog is, in the first place, the many years Mike Wilkins served as West London's solo pastor, and then its Senior Pastor, since he and his wife Deb moved to London (and this church) in 1984.
In these past few years (beginning November 2011,) Mike's various health challenges, particularly a serious and ongoing case of cancer, has added another layer to the "long run" metaphor, and lots to blog about. Mike is currently on an extended Sick Leave, but generally worships with the church family on Sunday mornings.
With the publication of a book he wrote in 2016 entitled "Glory in the Face" (now available electronically and in paperback from Amazon.ca, and other online venders), Mike has just launched a new website, which will serve as a sort of scrapbook for readers of the book, with relevant background photos, for example, of That Last Final Solo Canoe Trip in May, 2011, as well as additional information about the book, and--coming soon--a new set of blog posts, mostly about the peace of God and the joy of the Lord and the face of Christ and the strength to face anything. You'll find the new website now at www.gloryintheface.com.
Jun11MonJune 11, 2012
I used to sometimes say, "Of all the things I have loved and lost, I miss my hair the most." It might still be true. But since mid-December of last year, I have moved on (in accordance with my abiding desire to be thought of as a funny guy) to sulk about a more spectacular loss. Now I sometimes say, "Of all the things I have loved and lost, I miss my pituitary gland the most." (You can check out my entry of November 21, 2011 for the gnarly details.) All the while, I have been aware of the reality of a much greater loss than any number of body parts.
In his address to the 12 disciples that he had recently appointed as apostles, Jesus said (It's Matthew 10:39), "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." It's well worth noting, because it makes a great big daunting reality bigger and more daunting, that the word translated "life" (twice in this verse) is the Greek word "psyche" which means a "life" in the sense of a "soul" (and shows up in our words "psychology" [The study of the soul] and "psychiatry" [The healing of the soul].
"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." From this shocking statement of Christ's, a perception may be very helpfully developed: Better to lose any number of well-loved body parts, or well-loved anythings, than to lose your life, that is, your soul, that is, your actual self. This thought was covered by the Lord Jesus when he said, (in Matthew 16:26), "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? [Same word here: psyche] Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" (Same word again)
All of this points to a choice with which we are presented by an understanding of the gospel: the choice of how to lose our souls. This shouldn't be thought of as the choice of when to die. The Bible is bold in assuring us that that choice actually isn't something we are authorized to make. That particular biographical detail has been decided for us already by the One who does have that authority. (e.g Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16) But this statement of Jesus does present us with a choice about how each of us will lose the soul, that is, the life that he or she is. Sometimes, really important choices are not complicated. This choice is an example of that. You can choose to lose your soul by living your life as if it is your life to live or you can choose to lose your soul by giving it to Jesus, with the everlasting, happy outcome being that you will finally find "the real you." According to Jesus himself, this choice not only results in you finding your soul, but (Comparing other wordings of the same saying, e.g. Mark 8:35) it also is the way to save, that is, keep or preserve, your soul.
In other words, choosing to lose your life by dedicating it to Jesus Christ and his work (Check out Mark 8:35 on losing your life for the sake of Jesus AND the gospel) is the God-given way to save your life. If there was ever such a thing as a plainly good idea, this would be it. After all, you are going to lose your life anyway.
NOTE: These thoughts were part of Mike's sermon preached at West London on Sunday, June 10, 2012. An audio recording of it is on this website.