One of Jesus’ primary teachings is about losing and keeping. Anyone who tries to keep his life will lose it, but anyone who loses his life because of following Christ will keep it. This isn’t about leadership style, it’s about eternal life, and it has application in every relationship you can think of. It also isn’t one strategy for success “God’s way.” It is the only way to salvation.
All four Gospel writers cover this teaching. That doesn’t give it more authority—God only needs to say something once, but the repetition does highlight that it’s a big deal, especially for hard heads. Luke put it in his Gospel twice (9:24; 17:33), and the second time he included the part when Jesus named a name of someone who lost big.
Warning about the possibility of judgment coming when least expected, Jesus said:
Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. (Luke 17:32–33)
Moses didn’t mention much about Mrs. Lot in Genesis 19. Presumably she was a Sodomite, a native of Sodom, since Lot was single in the previous chapters. Even if she wasn’t from the city, she wanted to stay there. Lot was slow to leave, she was slower, she was “behind him” on their way out of town (Genesis 19:26). And though one of the angels told them not to look back, she did and became a pillar of salt.
Jesus wasn’t saying that those who look back and long to keep their life will become a salt statue, but they will still lose. Don’t fall for the allurements of the world, and don’t try to take it all with you. The life ahead is not just better, the life behind is not life at all.