“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.”
The world today runs on instant gratification. If I want to get in touch with someone, I won’t send a letter through the mail. I’ll send a text message or an email or call them on the phone. If I need to buy something, I’ll only actually go to the store if I can’t get online and have it delivered to my house in the next day or two. If I have to choose between going to bed early to prepare for the next day or stay up and watch a few more episodes of a tv show, I’ll take the option that I enjoy more right now even though it’ll cost me tomorrow. This is what we’ve hardwired our brains to expect.
A message like this one from Mark 10 flies right in the face of instant gratification. It’s about delayed gratification – exactly the opposite. Jesus tells his followers that everyone who sacrifices something for his sake will be rewarded a hundred times over in heaven. That seems like a great deal. If you could give up a dollar and then be rewarded with a hundred dollars, it seems like a no brainer to give up the dollar. The only problem is, you won’t get the hundred dollars for quite some time and in fact, you won’t even know exactly when. It could be tomorrow, or it could be 50 years. That makes things more complicated for us short-sighted people.
What we don’t see is that the reward is far greater than anything we could ever sacrifice. What we don’t see is that whatever it is we’re giving up, its only temporary whereas what we will gain is eternal. It’s not even comparable really – it’s apples to oranges.
That’s the great hope of Christianity, that we know this world and everything in it are temporary and fleeting, but God is eternal. Nothing on this earth is worth worshiping or being enslaved to or tied down to except for the only thing that is eternal, God. Everything else might as well be dust. We know that as Christians, we have an eternal hope, an eternal reward that is so much greater than any persecution or sacrifice that we could ever face on this earth. So much greater is our reward that no trial or suffering in Christ’s name is even worth comparing to the glory of heaven. That’s our hope. That’s the gift that Christ has given us.
Thank you for the promise of eternal life. Thank you for rewarding us beyond what we could ever actually give to you. We are unworthy of your grace and love, but we accept the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf and humbly and gratefully embrace you.
In Jesus’ Name,