Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day! and Pentecost Sunday!

Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:28-31)
My parents came up yesterday, and I was sad to have only a few hours with my mom before they had to leave. I haven't seen them since Christmas, and I longed for days together. But God's provision and work schedules only allowed part of a day, so we thoroughly enjoyed that time together.
This morning I am especially grateful, because I know many of you aren't with your moms on Mother's Day - and probably haven't been for years. Even with yearly furloughs, you aren't likely to be home on this weekend. And for the women among you, especially those who are moms yourself, I know you feel that absence keenly. It's hard to describe, that mother-daughter relationship, comforting and maddening at the same time, with a strong dose of "Oh no I'm becoming my mother" thrown into the mix!
So when I read these words of Jesus I think of you especially today. Jesus doesn't let Peter get much out. Peter - of course it would be Peter - points out in the midst of Jesus' teaching on the kingdom that they had given up a lot to follow Him. Jesus is talking about how hard it's going to get, and Peter explains how hard it's already been. Jesus doesn't hear a word of it. He simply points out that we receive back a hundredfold more than we give up.
Bottom line: He knows how hard giving up is, more than we can imagine. The Father gave up perfect intimacy with the Son in heaven. Jesus gave up the glories of heaven. "For God so loved the world that He gave." We can never do more.
But in His grace and mercy, He meets us at the point of pain and promises more in return than we ever give up. Mark it down: You will never surrender anything to God - nothing - that He doesn't more than make up for. I'm not talking treasure - I'm talking relationship. He will be the great reward, the hundredfold return.
This Mother's Day doubles as Pentecost Sunday. What a beautiful illustration of this truth. The disciples had to "lose" Jesus in this world in order to gain the perfect intimacy of the indwelling Holy Spirit. They had to "give up" the daily walking and talking with Him in the hills of Jerusalem and plains of Galilee in order to see Him revealed to every people group. They had to "surrender" their position within the Jewish community to become part of the Diaspora with the Gospel to all peoples.
May He meet you at your point of loss and sacrifice today, with a fresh revelation of His sufficiency.

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