Scripture: Mark 10:1-52
Observation: This chapter is full of Jesus’ teachings! He starts by teaching the Pharisees about divorce and marriage and the importance of seeing the Kingdom of God like a child. He goes on to teach a rich man about where true treasure lies (a life with Christ Jesus) and talks about discipleship. He finishes the chapter by predicting his own death and resurrection, talking about the importance of serving, and healing a blind man.
Application: You know what we love in today’s world more than anything? Convenience. The thrill of “instant.” We have little patience for delayed rewards; we’re looking for a quick pay-off, any trick that will save us a little time, money, energy, or any other resources.
I recently read an article that said millennials avoid cereal for breakfast because of the clean-up involved. YES, THIS IS REAL LIFE. Apparently washing a spoon and bowl is too much – so they’re opting for “convenience” options like breakfast sandwiches or yogurt, which require little to no clean up. (If you have five minutes, read this – and remember this is coming straight from the Washington Post, not The Onion. As my favorite millennials would say, I literally cannot even.)
This cultural wiring, this deep craving we’ve developed for instantaneous pay-offs, can create a real issue when it comes to our relationship with Jesus – a relationship that is slow, steady, and dependable, but not always instantly rewarding. However, a relationship with him holds the sweetest treasures and the greatest rewards – if we can hold on to the blessed assurance that our rewards aren’t instant and earthly but rather eternal. Look at how Jesus puts it in verses 29-31:
‘“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 greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.’”
Many of you out there are living regular, everyday lives following Jesus. You’re eating cereal (because you’re a normal human who doesn’t consider washing a bowl and spoon too much work), you’re taking care of kids, you’re trying to get to work on time, you’re wondering if you can go two days without washing your hair (you can, it’s called dry shampoo), you’re days behind on laundry, and you’re wondering if it’s okay to feed your family frozen pizza two nights in a row (it is). You’re finding ways to fit time into your day to praise Jesus in the midst of everyday chaos, and you’re serving, and you’re giving, and you’re going to your small group, and it all feels like a lot, but you know there’s value in constantly pursuing a relationship with Jesus and life with others. Most days, you feel like you’re just trying to get by and you probably feel insignificant and really, really far from greatness.
No, really, it’s okay. Because those feelings of insignificance, of unimportance, of smallness? They’re going to be replaced with feelings of greatness, significance, importance, and joy one day. Jesus said so in verse 31 – “But many who are greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
If you feel like you’re leading an everyday, unimportant life where you’re pouring yourself out for Jesus, for your family, for your friends, and for others, but aren’t sure if it’s all worth it – it is.
There’s a reward for you. That reward is called eternity with Jesus in a place called heaven, a heaven filled with endless love and an amazing treasure we can’t humanly comprehend. I imagine it’s a heaven where you can eat whatever you want without washing your own dishes, a heaven where you can go as many days as you want without washing your hair and it still looks silky smooth, a heaven where there’s no laundry or to do list or meal planning. I imagine it’s a heaven where you’ll have no worries at all and spend your days praising the very one who gave you dishes to clean and hair to wash and a family to love in the first place.
Now that’s a reward that sounds worth the wait, doesn’t it?
Prayer: God, I pray for a “least of these” attitude. I pray I can humble myself, turn away from the convenience of today to embrace the rewards of a long, lasting relationship with you many tomorrows from now. Amen.