A Surprising Return on Your Investment

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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"I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life."

Mark 10:29-30

In Mark 10:25, Jesus said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God. This distressed his disciples, who wondered who could be saved. When Jesus said that everything is possible with God, Peter wanted to make sure his place in the kingdom was secure. So he said, “We’ve given up everything to follow you” (10:26-28). Peter was probably hoping for a word of reassurance, something like, “Don’t worry, Peter, you’re in.” But what he heard from Jesus must have been both comforting and perplexing.

The comforting part was hearing that one who gives up much to follow Jesus “will have eternal life” in the world to come (10:30). Ultimately, the sacrifice will pay off generously.

The perplexing part included Jesus’ predication that those who follow him would receive persecution (10:30). This was realistic, but certainly not good news for those who, like Peter, had already endured many hardships to follow Jesus.

Yet even some of the good news in Jesus’ response to Peter must have been bewildering. He said that “everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property” (10:29-30a). How does this happen? Where are the houses and the relatives now? What Jesus said makes little sense if we think of our possessions and people individualistically. But Jesus was thinking differently. He was envisioning the community of his followers sharing all of life together, including their families and their stuff. One who follows Jesus becomes a member of his community, a community of generous sharing.

At least that’s what Jesus intended for his followers. We don’t always fulfill this vision, however, when our natural selfishness limits our willingness to share. But many times the church does embody the generosity promised by Jesus. For example, the nicest homes I have ever stayed in have belonged to brothers and sisters in Christ. And I am eternally grateful to the adults who helped to raise my children by teaching them in Sunday School, counseling them at camp, and doing so much more. One of the richest blessings of the Christian life is sharing together with the family of God.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How have you been blessed through your participation in the community of Jesus? How are you sharing what you have with your sisters and brothers in Christ? Is there something more you might be sharing, even today?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you that following you is not a solitary journey, but a shared adventure. Thank you for my adoption into your family and for the brothers and sisters you have given me. Thank you for all the ways I benefit from being part of your family.

Help me, dear Lord, to learn to see my life, my family, even my stuff in the light of your kingdom. May I learn to share what is “mine,” knowing that truly it is “yours” and therefore “ours.” Help me to open my heart, my arms, and my home to others.

Help your church to be the community you have called us to be, sharing all that we are and all that we have with each other. May our genuine fellowship be a sign to the world that the Gospel is true. Amen.


Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype

When we think of “leadership” or “influence,” we often get the image of a person of arrogant swagger, always self-confidently willing to tell people what they ought to do. And we naturally find such an image unseemly. This is not the image of Jesus, the most influential person who walked the planet. Neither is it the image of those we truly admire and can name were the most influential people in our own lives. In this week's series at The High Calling, Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype, we feature stories of how people can be influential in ways that really matter.

Featured image above by Liga Eglite. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.