Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rewards for the cost of discipleship

rock needle And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life."

Luke 18:29-30

The life spent committed to following Jesus has its cost. But Jesus assures those who have given up the most that it is well worth it. We must keep this statement in context. A very wealthy young man of influence has just approached Jesus wanting to settle his eternal destiny (Luke 18:18-27). He has come to the right place with the most important question of all. And Jesus invites him to leave everything behind and join the band of disciples (Luke 18:22). But though this rich young man was interested in spirituality, he would not pull away from his interest in materialism as well. He wanted both. And you cannot hold on to two affections. Jesus demands our full attention.

Peter comments on this sad state and outcome, reminding Jesus that the have indeed abandoned everything to follow Him (Luke 18:28). Jesus recognizes their commitment and sacrifice with this statement. He also reminds them of two levels of reward found in relationship with Him.

The first reward is in rich present relationships. This is not to be understood as some sort of promise of tremendous monetary wealth. I find most of what Jesus says here to be tied to the relationships newly discovered by a disciple within the family of God. There is no guarantee that physical family will turn to God for salvation. But there is a new family in Christ. And Christians share their lives and homes together like family should.

The second reward is the eternal life that the rich young man sought. What we find in Jesus is new life that is always fresh and new and amazingly good FOREVER! That is a really, really, really long time. Life eternal is found in Him and I don’t have to wait to enjoy it. Eternal life is lived right now. It started when I came to Him for salvation. It exists for me right now as I follow Him. It lasts forever when death is not an end of anything, but a bridge to a brighter, richer, fuller life in Christ.

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