29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Blessings and hardships. We long for the first, and want to run away from the second. We want to be blessed with wealth and loving families and all manner of good things, but for Jesus to include persecutions in the list – wow – that is difficult to receive. And then Jesus ends his remarks saying that many who are first will be last, and the last first.
What that says to me is that, in this as in other instances, we are to let God be in charge and not presume to order God around. Maybe we have sacrificed for the sake of gospel – lost a friend or a job or some other tangible resource. Or maybe difficulties have come, simply because we profess faith in Jesus our savior. Whether we find in this life blessings or curses because of faith, well, so did Jesus.
I pray that whatever God asks of us, that we may endeavor to be faithful and obedient to do it. Maybe much will be asked of us, or maybe not. Maybe our eventual place in heaven will be humble, despite all our efforts here in this lifetime. If we will simply put our trust in God’s goodness, no matter what happens we can continue to give God all thanks and praise.
Gracious God, let me be faithful to do what service you ask of me, today and every day. Let me be willing to shoulder the difficult tasks, and do it with grace. Let me keep my eyes fixed on you, Lord, so that my only desire is to please you. I give you all praise in Jesus Christ. Amen.