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(Part 25)


March 4, 2013
Today’s gospel: Mark 10:28-31

God calls us to give our all, just like Jesus gave his all for us. When we do, we receive more than we give. God is never outdone in generosity. Thus Peter said to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” (v.28). Jesus answered, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age” (v.29-30a).

What do we give up? We not only give up sin, but we give up the very blessings God has been pouring out on us. We give up those things that are important to and valuable for us. Everything we have belongs to God, and we turn these over to Him. We do not selfishly hold on to them. We detach from family and from personal resources in order to serve Him fully.

Now it is not only a question of giving up things. Liberal western billionaires also give up their wealth to philanthropies, but to anti-life causes, to promote matters that are against God. We give up things for the sake of Christ and for the sake of the gospel. We give up things in order to be able to more fully follow Jesus and serve his cause. We allow nothing, no matter how important and precious to us, to stand in the way, because the most precious to us is Jesus and the propagation of the gospel.

What do we receive in turn? We receive a hundred times more, not only in heaven but right here and now--”houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.” (v.30b). Blessings now, and blessings in the hereafter. Blessings on earth and blessings in heaven.

Those of us in CFC-FFL who have done mission have reaped these blessings. We leave our home, but all the homes of our brethren are open to us. We leave our brethren where we are, but we meet and relate with hundreds of other brethren, of every nationality and culture. We leave our family behind, but we are treated as family by many others. We leave our children behind, but we encounter many more children of our brethren whom we consider our own children as well. We leave our possessions, but are very well cared for by others. We leave our land, but enter into territories being won for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now in between the earthly blessings and the eternal blessing is wedged persecutions. Persecution is part and parcel of a life of serving Jesus. When we do mission, we assault the enemy. Thus we engage in spiritual war. We will be bruised and bloodied. We will be oppressed. We will be persecuted. There will be suffering and pain. But persecutions are also part of the blessings! It means we are doing our task well. It means we are effectively assaulting the enemy and so we are being attacked. It is the privilege given to us by God to suffer for the sake of Christ and his gospel. It purifies us. It draws us deeper into a relationship with God. It keeps us dependent upon God, fully trusting in Him. It allows us to give God our all, even our very lives. It helps makes us saints and martyrs and true warriors. It is the awesome privilege of participating, in our own small way, in the cross of Jesus Christ.

When we give up everything to follow Jesus, it might seem that we have lost everything, when in truth we have gained everything. When we suffer and die for our faith, it would seem as if we have lost our well-being and our precious lives, but in truth we would just have entered into the fullness of life. When we give of ourselves in humble service, it would seem that we have taken the lowest place, but in truth we have taken the higher and loftier path. Those who hold on lose what they have, while those who let go gain it all. Indeed “many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (v.31).

Let us be willing to lose it all for the sake of Christ, being regarded as the least and the last by a darkened world, but then know that we will be first in entering eternal life in the age to come.

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