Friday, August 27, 2010

Those who seem least important will be the greatest!

Mark 10:28-31 NLT 
  28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.  
  29  “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and 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, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”

Just prior to this conversation Jesus had demonstrated a shocking truth about the impact wealth might have on people in regards to their access to God's Kingdom. That is the context for Peter's question, here , he was not just bragging about what the disciples had done. He was actually concerned about 'making it' into the Kingdom of God. He wanted to set a record straight regarding his willingness to give up earthly wealth for the work of the Kingdom. He may have overstated his case, but, Peter and the others had, indeed left their personal resources to follow an itinerant preacher around and learn about the Kingdom of God. And Jesus did not fail to recognize their sacrifice.

History is filled with stories of God's servants leaving family, friends, jobs, great careers, fame, fortune, and possessions for the work of the Kingdom of God at the call of the Holy Spirit. The stories are not told but history is yet full of instances where persons claiming to be in the body of Christ have not given up very much at all, in contrast. But it matters not what we give up in comparison to others, but it does matter what we do when God calls us to do it.

This passage is very specific about the losses and gains because of our obedience to God's call to the Kingdom work.  It seems that we will receive something NOW (vs 30) and that something will be equal to a hundred times that which we have surrendered or lost because of the Kingdom work we do. Even lost loved ones will be replenished, somehow, a hundred fold.  But don't skip over the "-- along with persecution" part. That could be a hundred fold as well. If the world persecuted the Lord we love and serve and who inhabits us, then it will persecute us as well.

Verse 30 ends with "and in the world to come. . ." There is coming a world, a universe, that is glorious, eternal, without any sort of suffering, and filled with the harvest of fruit we are now planting in our work for God's kingdom. And human expectations about greatness may well surprise many of us when that time comes. I say that because of verse 31. It goes along with what Jesus would later say-- that the ones who are truly 'great' are those who become the servants of all. Look around at those who we tend to think of as least important-- but who fill faithful functions in the body of Christ. You may be looking at some of God's great ones for the days of the eternal kingdom.

Be a servant to someone today.
Your servant in His love

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