We have come to another familiar scene with Jesus. We looked at this story in Matthew and Mark. Because we have looked at this story before, I’m going to point you back to those posts instead of repeating the same point today. I want to look at the end of the story today. Instead of looking at the man who came to Jesus, we will be looking at Jesus’ answer to Peter’s comment.
After Jesus answers the question of how to gain eternal life asked by the rich ruler, the man is heartbroken. His comparison between the rich man entering Heaven and the camel and the eye of the needle got everyone’s attention. Those listening in commented, “Then who can be saved?” (verse 26). If you can’t buy your way in, and the man who said he had kept the commandments from his youth couldn’t get in, WHO COULD! It’s impossible! For man, yes. For God, NO.
Jesus Himself made the impossible possible. He made a way for us to enter Heaven. He did it on the cross.
Sorry, got sidetracked again. That was a good “rabbit trail” to go down, but let’s get back to our reading. Peter next reminds Jesus of all that he and his fellow disciples have left in order to follow Jesus. Peter, Andrew, James and John left their fishing business. Matthew left his lucrative career of tax collector. We don’t know the other disciples’ individual sacrifices but we know they made many of them. They were on the road with Jesus for three years. They didn’t have time to zip home and check on their business. Their choice was to follow Him whole heartedly or stay home.
Jesus told Peter that his sacrifice of his worldly comforts and possessions did not go unnoticed. Jesus said that they would “receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life: (verse 30). This doesn’t mean that Jesus’ disciples were promised prosperity in the world, but that they would be repaid for their sacrifice IF it was done for the sake of the Kingdom of God. The motivation can’t be to give so that you will get back even more from God. But if your heart freely releases what it is holding and gives it to God to do with as He pleases, He will not ignore or forget your sacrifice.
In my younger years, there was a song that was popular in the “faith movement” camp. A couple of lines said, “You can’t out give the Lord no matter what you do. You’ll find out in the end that the Lord’s out giving you.” This is true, but I have also seen this perverted by the “health, wealth, and prosperity” group within the “faith movement.” They would tell you that if you will give X amount of money that God would have to give you even more in return. God gave you more than you could ever give first when He gave you His Son. That is more valuable than anything we could ever give.
Thank You Father for the amazing gifts You give me; Jesus as my Savior. There is nothing that I could give up that would even compare to what You have given. But I also appreciate that You promise to notice my sacrifices for You. I don’t want to ever make a sacrifice though just so You will notice me. I want each gift I give to you, whatever form it takes, to be done out of love for You and a sincere desire to see Your Kingdom grow. Thank You for allowing me to be part of Your Kingdom’s growth. That’s my kind of return on investment!