Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 7, 2016
By Tripp Prince.
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. Matthew 19:29
For most of us, we spend the majority of our lives pursuing the very things Jesus identifies in this verse: a home to call our own, a family to love and laugh with, and a meaningful and life-giving vocation. These are so widely accepted as virtuous and noble pursuits that few people would ever question their value or worth. Yet, here in Matthew 19, we see Jesus promising a hundredfold reward for those who have left them behind! What’s going on here?
In this verse, Jesus is teaching us a central aspect of faithful discipleship: it’s possible to love good things in the wrong way.
Not once does the Bible say that a home, family, or career are evil or sinful pursuits. Far from it! Each is a great gift from God that should be received as a blessing and sign of his love and care for us. However, we constantly face the temptation to make good gifts from the Lord into our primary source of meaning, worth, and value. This is what Jesus is speaking against when he invites us to leave them behind for the sake of eternal life.
At times, our quest for a fulfilling career or perfect family can be all consuming! It animates our actions during the day and captures our imaginations in the evening. Though we may not say it explicitly, our decisions betray the fact that our identity and self-worth is directly tied to how successful we are in this pursuit. If family and work are going well, then we feel satisfied and valued. If we have strained relationships at home or a challenging season at work, we are tempted to believe that we are inferior or incomplete.
Jesus is inviting us to live a life of total devotion to him. In order to do this, we must submit every part of our lives to his kingdom purposes. We must learn to filter our decisions and desires through his value system, not ours. This means asking hard questions: “Am I purchasing this new home for my own comfort and status or to be a blessing to others?” “Will this career decision help me use my gifts and talents in service of God’s kingdom, or does it simply promise wealth and security?”
When we begin to ask these sorts of questions about our work and home lives, we learn how to rightly receive and use good gifts from God for his glory!
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
Prayer: Father, help us to love you above all else, and to see our homes, families, and careers as gifts to offer back to you for the sake of your kingdom.
Application: What aspect of your life at home or work can you recommit to God’s kingdom purposes?
Related Readings: Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:9; 2 Corinthians 5:15
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© 2016 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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