Worth Leaving Everything and Following

“Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” - Matthew 19: 27-30

At the end of Matthew 19 Jesus is discussing with his disciples an important interaction he just had. A rich young man came to Jesus and asked what he must do to gain eternal life. While the young man was sure he had kept the commandments and done good things, Jesus said he still lacked one thing and told him to go sell everything he had and give it to the poor. Woof. Matthew tells us “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth” (v. 22).

Even the disciples had a hard time hearing this! For them, wealth was a sign of God’s blessing, and to be told to give everything away turned their ideas about God on their head.

Peter, one of Jesus’s closest disciples then comes to Jesus and reminds him that he and the other disciples have already given all their possessions away… so what now? The disciples were ready for their reward now, they wanted to be compensated for following Jesus.

But Jesus’s response is not what they expect. He tells the disciples that if they give up everything, they will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. And in order to do so, they have to give up their desire for status and more here on earth.

This is such hard teaching for me! I so easily get caught up in the new thing or the next best thing, often trying to provide for myself and stressing way more than I’m ever trusting God. But while Jesus doesn’t promise wealth, riches, or the next best thing, He promises something much better: Himself.

He says in Matthew 6 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

No matter how much or how little we have here on earth, nothing compares to Jesus’s presence in our lives. He is worth chasing after and following. He is worth giving things up or going without because He is the good shepherd who will always, always take care of us.

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