The Promise of a New Family

post date: December 9, 2018


“Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 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” (Mark 10:29-30).
Make sure you know the true cost before you make the purchase.
That’s what Jesus is telling us in these verses.
If we take Jesus literally (as we must), he is telling us to count the cost because following him always involves a kind of “leaving.” You may have to leave behind some of your closest earthly relationships to be faithful to the call of God. I knew a young couple who felt called to the mission field. Both were supremely gifted and ready to go, but their parents did not want them to go. “How could you take our grandchildren so far from us?” they asked. “Why do you have to go to a dangerous place on the other side of the world?”
There aren’t any easy answers to questions like that.
Either you get it, or you don’t.
We will never grasp any of this if we look at it from a worldly point of view. Jesus wants us to count the cost, and then he wants us to know the payoff will be far greater than the cost. What we lose on one side will be repaid a hundred times over in new brothers and sisters when we join God’s Forever Family. We will find family members wherever we go on earth. The “hundredfold” you receive will so far outstrip what you gave up that you can’t put the cost and the benefit on the same graph.
God will be no one’s debtor.
No one who follows Jesus will ever regret that decision.
Not in this life or the life to come.
Jesus was a family man. He came to create a family of believers from every corner of the earth. One day that family will gather round the throne, a vast multitude from every tongue, tribe, nation, and from every ethnic group. Together we will lift our voices to declare, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.”
Don’t overlook that little phrase “along with persecutions” in verse 30. Some people will oppose us no matter what we do or say. Following Jesus isn’t all sunshine and roses. But even that opposition will be worth the joy of being part of God’s family wherever we go.
A few years ago I was part of group that visited a house church in China. There were perhaps 50 people crowded into one small apartment. We began by singing and praying for 40 minutes. Then I preached. Then we sang some more along with exhortations by the pastor. By American standards, it was a long service, but the people were in no hurry to go home. When we finished, everyone stayed for lunch, laughing and talking and sharing together. Although I know very little Chinese, I felt right at home. They welcomed us as if we had known them forever. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
When you follow Jesus, you meet his brothers and sisters wherever you go. Then when you die, you meet him face to face. What a deal! Nothing on earth could top that.
Spirit of God, thank you for making me part of a family so large that it will take eternity to meet all my brothers and sisters. Amen.
Musical bonus: Let’s listen as Penny and Sparrow sing this beautiful arrangement of Away in a Manger.
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