Nothing to Gain – Nothing to Lose

A wise man once asked a respected scholar, “If you had nothing to gain and nothing to lose from any choice you chose, what would you choose to do?” The scholar answered, “Master, no such option exists in all of life, for with every choice one chooses between the two. And you master, what would you choose to do?” The wise man answered, “I would create human beings to choose me and gain everything, thereby losing nothing.” The stunned scholar said, “You speak as though you are God!” “Yes, that is what those whom I created said as they nailed me to a cross.”

Todd Beal

We have but one choice through which all others are pre-determined. Choose God or his fallen created angel, either way the choice is yours alone to make.

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About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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29 Responses to Nothing to Gain – Nothing to Lose

  1. Lance Ponder says:

    That’s pretty cool.

    Like

    • Todd Beal says:

      Lance,

      I wrote this post as the result of solving my question, “Do all human choices hinge on gain/loss”, and the answer is yes. Regardless of how benign the choice, the impetus behind all human word, thought, and deed, is none other than “what is gained and what is lost”. This is true because we are not our own source, and apart from God’s provision, we have, and are, literally nothing.

      I drove my workmates crazy while trying to figure this out, asking them “If you had nothing to gain and nothing to lose from any choice you chose, what would you choose to do?”

      I wrote this brief story over a six-month period, and upon completion, I wept most every time I read it.

      Like

  2. That’s a brilliant little story, Todd, and it created a paradigm shift in me when I read it. It made me realize the stark and utterly complete difference between an existence with God and an existence without Him. Without Him there is no one worth emulating, no one worth following, and nothing worth choosing!

    Like

    • Todd Beal says:

      Michael,

      If only all people would take your statement to heart and step into life. I wish I could tell you in person how much your comment means to me. That alone makes this post – this blog – worthwhile. Thank you.

      Like

  3. >>> “I would create human beings to choose me and gain everything, thereby losing nothing.”

    Yes, yes, YES! I gained EVERYTHING when I accepted Christ as my Saviour.

    Did I LOSE anything? Yes, I did. I lost many things, including the right to call my life my own, for I had been “bought with a price”. 2 Cor 5:17 says “Old things passed away” so YES I lost many of the so-called pleasures (which weren’t satisfying pleasures) of the old life.

    But did I LOSE anything?
    NO WAY!!! ALL is gain!!!
    What a wonderful Saviour!

    Like

  4. Lance Ponder says:

    A brave man once requested me
    to answer questions that are key
    is it to be or not to be
    and I replied oh why ask me?

    — Last verse from Suicide Is Painless (MASH Theme)

    Like

    • Todd Beal says:

      Lance,

      Please expound.

      Like

    • Lance Ponder says:

      My comment is driven mostly by sleep deprivation. LOL. The opening line of the post (asking a scholar for wisdom) reminded me of the opening line of the verse from that song. In fact, the question you raise also reminded me of “to be or not to be” as a philosophical query. Sorry. Nothing more profound than that. LOL.

      And since I’m really tired and loopy and its about 2:30 in the morning and I’m trapped at work waiting for morning, here’s the opening verse to that song…

      Through early morning fog I see
      visions of the things to be
      the pains that are withheld for me
      I realize and I can see

      Like

      • Todd Beal says:

        Lance, I love that verse.

        Only truth allows us to see reality as it truly is, yet simultaneously provides us with faith’s complete assurance to personally remain at peace within that reality. If there is one thing I have learned in the past 13 ½ years, God always clears my path, come what may!

        Like

  5. Lovely, I read it three times and I can not get enough of it. :)

    Like

  6. pbus1 says:

    Hi Todd,

    This post was excellent! I choose Christ, which means I gain everything, and as you said, I only lose being lost! “For, what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” I choose Christ, the giver of eternal life!

    Like

  7. “If you have nothing to gain then you have nothing to lose!”
    Just don’t ever lose your self-respect because if you keep that then you keep(gain) your soul!

    Like

    • Todd Beal says:

      I counter: If you gain your soul you will for the first time gain self-respect, apart from which self-respect is but illusion, a fleeting glimpse of self-preservation.

      Like

  8. Madison Woods says:

    Good story Todd. I can’t imagine making conscious choices where God is not integral, though I can see how not every decision is weighed and measured. The gain/loss equation is probably innate and we don’t pay attention to it for the most part. To become awakened is to make conscious choices, I suppose.

    Like

    • Todd Beal says:

      Madison,

      | The gain/loss equation is probably innate and we don’t pay attention to it for the most part. To become awakened is to make conscious choices, I suppose. |

      This is why I truly enjoy your comments here. You have so much insight. What a great statement! You identified the one criterion for both self-development and developing one’s relationship with Christ. We cannot identify the wisest choice without first knowing two things: what deepest impetus drives our desire to choose one direction over another; and, is that impetus antagonistic toward truth, or did truth plant it there. The hard part is consciously overriding our desires when they contradict the wisest choice. The easy part, and most exhilarating, is reaping the reward for choosing wisely – Truth.

      Thanks a lot, Madison.

      Like

  9. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Todd,

    Your story is a good one despite the assumptions you make within it. From an atheist’s point of view it illustrates the paradox of faith versus knowledge. From a believer’s point of view it reinforces faith. Your deeply held conviction shines throughout it.

    From a writer’s point of view, I feel you could have left off ‘on a cross’ in the last sentence. The image of the words, ‘when they crucified me’ would be far more powerful without the redundancy inherent in the sentence as you wrote it. Either way, it remains a moving piece. Thank you.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

    • Todd Beal says:

      Doug,

      | From an atheist’s point of view it illustrates the paradox of faith versus knowledge. |

      I do not share the same misguided definition of faith as most professing Christians. Faith is not belief or trust, but instead “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” [quoted from Hebrews 11:1 NASB] (see my post, “Is Faith the Same as Trust or Belief?”). Faith is God’s irrevocable promissory note, giving absolute certainty that either something is, was, or will be the case, even if that something manifests outside our physical lifetime. We cannot generate this faith; God alone gives it. Our job is to trust in that faith, and doing so attunes both our heart and mind to the fullness of truth, which then transforms every area of our life from the inside out.

      You could think of Faith as insider trading on Wall Street in a good way. The ordinary person must rely on his own interpretation of the facts and only after they happen. But of course the insider sees the outcome before it occurs, and sometimes he directly influences it. When we accept Jesus Christ (the ultimate Insider) into our heart, we go from outsider to being personal friend of the insider. We no longer have to speculate on outcome and then interpret the evidence after the fact, but instead gain real-time knowledge and understanding of irrevocable Truth, the source of all fact. That is God-given Faith.

      Therefore, according to the real meaning of Faith, there is no paradox of faith versus knowledge. Faith is the ultimate knowledge.

      Regarding the “crucified me on a cross” redundancy; thanks for pointing that out to me. I changed the wording from “as they crucified me on a cross” to “as they nailed me to a cross”. Also I really appreciate both your positive feedback and your willingness to help me write better, despite your disagreement with the meaning of my post. I appreciate that more than words can say.

      Like

      • Hi Todd,

        The English language (at least the one I use) doesn’t have the words to describe how faith can morph into knowledge. For myself, it is enough to know that you believe and are faithful to that belief.

        One of the most off-putting characteristics of people of faith is their intolerance of those who do not share their beliefs, followed quickly by their extreme intolerance of those who profess their atheism. That a person or a people might believe in a different god seems somehow more tolerable than that he or they exist in this world with no god(s). Does that strike you as strange?

        In any event, given the above, I’d like to thank you for your tolerance. Just to keep our communication on an even keel, I didn’t disagree with the meaning of your post. I may not have seemed to interpret it as you intended, but I felt I knew what you were trying to say. When I read a story in which a god is a central character I categorize it as ‘fable’ and any beliefs express therein as ‘fabulous’. This does not take away from the meaning of the story, nor does it imply that said beliefs are not in any way valid for that author or those readers to whom said belief rings true. From my point of view, however, I search for the lesson in the writing without necessarily buying into the deities or belief system that has built up around them.

        I thank you also for being open to constructive criticism regarding the mechanics of writing. I am in no way a good writer but I strive to improve and that will remain a touchstone for me until my clock stops, so to speak. That you saw the redundancy in your last sentence and removed it in a way that strengthened the impact of your vision within the story is the sign of an open mind and a bright intellect. If I happen to see any areas where a suggestion might improve your content, i will pass it along. (In your case I was hesitant as criminals in ancient history were often crucified on trees or even walls, in which case the shape their arms and body take satisfy the definition of the word crucifixion. I was reminded, in the end, of my mother, who took me to task when I described a waterfall as ‘descending down’, and thought I’d mention the ‘crucified on a cross’ sentence in that light.)

        I am looking forward to reading more of your posts and perhaps discussing matters of faith. This is a wide world in a much, much wider Universe and meeting interesting people such as yourself is one of the joys of existence within it.

        It’s been a pleasure.

        Aloha,

        Doug

        Like

        • Todd Beal says:

          Doug,

          | That a person or a people might believe in a different god seems somehow more tolerable than that he or they exist in this world with no god(s). Does that strike you as strange? |

          Yes that does strike me as strange, and I must admit to sometimes extending that same lopsided tolerance. I cannot speak for others who do this, but I naturally feel more hopeful for someone who believes in a god (even if their god is not God) than for someone who believes in no god. At least they are open to the existence of a “god”, meaning that they might possibly be more open to receiving Jesus into their heart someday. On the other hand, I simply feel sick inside (as if the life has drained out of me) when someone tells me he does not believe God exists. A single thought begins to resound within my mind and it will not let me rest: “If only you would meet the God I know; if only you could experience the joy of spontaneously saying out loud, from the deepest and most tender part of your heart, “I love you God”, you would not disbelieve but instead believe in him with everything you got.”

          Again, that is how I feel; I cannot speak for the others. However, when I put myself in your shoes, I can understand how the apparent lopsidedness may strike you as off-putting and unfair, and possibly even contradictory. In a certain sense I can see that it is contradictory, but on the other hand maybe it’s not truly contradictory and only appears that way. I will seriously think about this because I can see its importance. Thanks for mentioning it.

          Regarding your method for reading stories in which a god is a central character, I use that same method to extrapolate the essence (or lesson) from both ancient myth and certain astrological writings (writings that contain anti-Biblical spiritual teachings). That you commonly employ this method, tells me you try to extract the good from wherever you can find it. In my experience, most individuals will not allow their self this luxury, and so miss out on many of life’s transforming surprises.

          I must say Doug that you are one of the very few professing atheists who, at first sight of the word God or Christian used favorably, have not tried to tear one of my posts to shreds. That’s very cool! Maybe we can engage in a bit of healthy reasoning together. I say, welcome.

          Like

  10. I like your story…I got all of it, even the ending, but then I live in a redneck family. LOL

    Like

  11. Oops, comment meant for another story. Sorry, operating on half a cup of coffee. LOL But even as a non-Christian, I can relate to this. Life is a matter of choices; we just have to be sure to make the right ones.

    Like

  12. Siobhan Muir says:

    Great story, Todd. I love the wisdom in it without being heavy-handed. Well done. :)

    Like

  13. I’m reading this first thing Saturday morning and wasn’t expecting anything so deep this early. It’s rare to find profound writing that’s also well-written. Nicely done.

    Like

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