The Reward of Complete Surrender
The Reward of Complete Surrender
“And Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.”
It is easy to have strings attached to our obedience to Christ. We want the benefits of heaven but not the costs. We are willing to serve and obey Christ—as long as it is on our terms. It needs to fit within our schedule and our convenience. It must be with the cost of pursuing our agenda and plans. It needs to be in line with our thoughts and values.
In response to the shallow faith of the rich you man, Peter inquires what their reward would be. Peter is not asking for a reward for himself; instead, he is inquiring if they have done what is necessary to earn a reward. They had forsaken everything to follow Christ. In contrast to the rich young man, the disciples did not merely follow Jesus for a couple of days and then go on their merry way. They left everything and completely devoted themselves to serving Christ. In response, Jesus affirms that they had done enough and would receive their reward in his kingdom.
Jesus then affirms that all those who have left everything to follow him will be rewarded in his kingdom. In his affirmation of all who left everything, it is important to notice that the reason was not for some gain or reward. Those who are rewarded have left “for my name’s sake.” In other words, they did not follow Jesus because of the benefits they might receive but solely because of their devotion to Christ. To be a genuine disciple of Christ, we need to set Christ as the highest priority above all our pursuits and our relationships. Following Christ is not convenient. It will be costly. To follow Christ is to place our relationship with him as our highest priority, even if it means alienation from our family. In many countries in the world, this is a real reality. To follow Christ results in rejection and isolation from family who reject Christ. It is even to risk personal death. But our allegiance to Christ demands nothing less.
Christ not only points to the relational cost, but also the personal cost. To follow Christ, we need to be willing to sacrifice our wealth, careers, and comforts. These things are not necessarily evil, but when they become more important than Christ, they hinder our spiritual growth. This is often a challenge for First-World Christians, who are among the wealthiest people in history and obsessed with pursuing careers and the lure of success. It is easy to give lip service to following Christ, but giving up our careers and financial security is another story. We see our wealth as ours to enjoy rather than a tool to use for God’s kingdom. Yet, to be a genuine disciple of Christ is to place all things at Christ’s disposal to use for his glory and his kingdom.
As disciples of Christ, we need to reorient our whole perspective and priority. We are to bring all things under the submission of his kingdom purpose. This includes not just our relationships and our money but also our dreams, aspirations, values, and thoughts. Instead of conforming the teaching of Scripture to our perspective, we need to conform our thoughts to Christ and his Word. Christ does not desire merely professing Christians, who give lip service to Christ but fail to surrender entirely to him. These individuals are in danger of finding themselves outside the kingdom of Christ. To fully participate in his kingdom, we need to give him everything. This is what it means to be a genuine disciple of Christ.