One of the outspoken disciples of Jesus called Peter once raised a genuine question to his Master.
“We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” (Matt. 19:27).
For sure, some of the disciples of Jesus were already economically stable as fishermen before they were recruited into the business of fishing people. Some were tax collectors and formerly had opportunities to make as much money as they wanted through extortion.
But their calling, way of life, and perspectives changed when they encountered Jesus. They literally left EVERYTHING to follow Jesus (for the sake of Jesus). EVERYTHING included: houses, brothers, sisters, parents, children, and fields. To them, Jesus became the single greatest treasure that when the merchant found he went and sold everything he had to acquire it.
And so the question voiced by Peter was an expected concern. What will they gain in return? What will they gain in their giving?
It is very easy to condemn Peter’s question as a question from a materialistic heart. But if you bring this to our experiences you will realize that the question was a genuine one. You see, serving God and people is hard work. It demands commitment, sacrifice, hard work, and a lot of self-giving. It involves GIVING out your time, resources and even your life- everything!
True service isn’t a walk on a park; it involves hard work, self-giving, and emptying of self.
Sometimes you can serve and the people you serve (with) fail to appreciate your efforts. Sometimes you can faithfully serve and people fail to understand what you are doing. Sometimes you can invest you efforts in God’s work and nothing seems to be happening. Sometimes the overtime work you do or the work you perform behind the curtains goes unremembered.
And so the question remains, is following Jesus a loss? Is serving God a poor stewardship of life?
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of 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, brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life (Matt. 19:27-29).
I think these very words from Jesus breathes hope and comfort! It is encouraging to know that there is ‘something for us’. The expectation of receiving something from God after surrender of our everything makes it worthwhile to serve/follow Jesus. So there is no loss in following Jesus! In fact surrendering all for Christ is an invaluable investment -for this life, and the life to come.
God’s promise to reward your labor of love is severally reiterated in the Bible:
….Always give yourselves to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).
…a man reaps what he sows…Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Gal. 5:7,9).
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the true love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them (Heb. 6:10).
Keep on serving and keep on expecting God’s reward not men’s commendation.