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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“’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, 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. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”—Mark 10:29–31 (NLT)
Any financial planner would tell you that if you want to be successful, you need to maximize the return on your investment. Meaning, it’s best to invest in something that will appreciate or gain value. They would tell you to sacrifice now in order to reap greater benefits later. This is basic economics.
Jesus here is giving the disciples a lesson in the economy of the kingdom of God. Anyone who gives up their prized possessions—their home, family, and loved ones—for the sake of the gospel will receive a blessing a hundredfold. That financial planner would very likely be supportive of anything you invest in that is returned to you a hundredfold.
Now, scholars say that a “hundredfold” is a figurative expression, because no one can have 100 biological mothers or fathers for instance, but it’s a description of the abundance you’ll receive when you forsake all to follow Jesus. It’s a giant return on your investment!
Usually you have to wait until way later to receive your return on investment, but Jesus promises it now AND later. This is the miracle of the economy of the kingdom. He also promises eternal life in heaven–the world to come. No one knows quite what the world to come will look like, but we can get glimpses of it in Revelation, and we can trust that it will be good because God is there and He is good.
Jesus is also giving the disciples a lesson in the hierarchy of the kingdom of God. He says those who have the greatest importance now will be least important and vice versa. Imagine C-suite executives lower than the interns and entry-level employees. Picture the marginalized, the ignored, and the overlooked elevated to the status of kings and queens. So the goal would not be for the disciples, or for us, to gain status and importance or fame and power in this life. The goal is to serve like Jesus did!
One final point we should not skip over is that while blessings are promised, so are persecutions. We as Christians were never promised a perfect life. In fact, Jesus warns us of just the opposite when He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).
But, despite those persecutions, nothing will be able to separate us from the furious love of God (Romans 8:38-39)! And, the pattern we see over and over again in the Bible is that suffering always turns to glory.
Pause: In the economy of the kingdom of God, how have you seen the Lord bring a return on your investment? How have you seen your persecution or trials turn into glory?
Practice: If you find yourself in a race to the top, remind yourself of the hierarchy of the kingdom of God. If you want to be great in God’s kingdom, model Christ’s behavior as the servant of all.
Pray: Lord Jesus, I thank You for the promise of blessing as I sacrifice for Your name and for the gospel. I ask that my motives would be pure as I follow You to demonstrate to others what God is like, and not only to reap the harvest of blessing. Convict me to humbly serve others as You did for us. Remind my heart of Your promise when trials and persecutions come. In Jesus name. Amen.
Denise Trio has been on staff with Calvary for almost two years, serving as the Director of Strategic Development. She has 10 years of project management experience, with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Engingeering from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA and a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. When not on campus, Denise is either making her way through her book list at the beach, ordering tacos on any menu that serves them, or running her side business, The Rose Creative, which specializes in creating beautiful and meaningful products for her clients.