Worthy Baggage

The following from The Word Among Us made me think in a multitude of ways.

“Many that are first will be last, and the last will be first. (Mark 10:31)

After seeing the rich young man walk away sad and hearing how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, Jesus’ disciples were uneasy. If it was difficult for such a worthy person to attain eternal life, what hope did they have? Could anyone be saved? So Peter spoke up: “We have given up everything and followed you” (Mark 10:28).

Jesus was quick to reassure Peter that he saw every sacrifice he had made. Not only did he recognize all that Peter and the others had given up, he assured them of blessings in this life and eternal life in heaven. This promise doesn’t apply just to the big sacrifices—house, family, or land. There are times when small sacrifices cost us a lot, too. Jesus sees every time we hold back a sarcastic comment, every time we interrupt our day to help a neighbor in need, every time we offer a short prayer of intercession for our sick cousin. Not one of these acts of love, faith, and trust goes unnoticed.

But Jesus didn’t just reassure Peter and the others. He wanted them to see that they could go even further. As they turned from their old lives, the floodgates of heaven would open even wider and pour out more blessings! The further they went, the greater their reward! It wasn’t enough to rest on the knowledge of the promise of eternal life. They weren’t at risk of losing anything, but Jesus wanted them to see that there was more possible! God is always calling us deeper into his life, but we should never lose sight of the fact that he also sees everything we’ve already done, and it pleases him deeply. He won’t forget it at the last day, either.

So how far do you want to go with Jesus? To the ends of the earth? Do you want to be filled to overflowing? Then keep pursuing him! Stay open to him, and let him strip away more and more of the old nature—in his gentle, gradual way. Be assured: As much as he strips away, he will give back a hundredfold in blessings, clarity, peace, joy, and assurance.

First it made me check whether I was counting myself worthy or not. Although it was a quick thought of “yes you’re confident in your salvation” it did make me know that checking myself on this periodically is not totally an unnecessary exercise.

Next it made me remember that it is very easy for me to get caught up in the strong and ever flowing revealed truths that get my heart and head racing a mile a minute. As my relationship with God deepens, it is an exciting journey and in this I think grand. This meditation was a good dose of the reality that we don’t have to cure all of the world’s evils or even our own in one fail swoop to please Him. The small stuff is just as pleasing and those daily instances need to become ingrained habits for me. In other words stop feeling like it has to be a big, noble gesture to count.

Finally it reminded me that as He calls me deeper He is stripping away the old nature. It is more than okay that I have baggage for Him to strip, that it is a process that does not include a magic wand that will poof me into the Christian that I think I should be and that it doesn’t have to be all ugly to be effective. While this stripping is not always comfortable I can take comfort in the blessings, clarity, peace, joy and assurance to come.

So much from one little meditation.

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