16 Aug 2016
The reward of our faith is to “sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” That’s the “prize” (or part of the “prize”) of giving up everything and following him. But, you know, I’m not sure too many people are interested in the prize. I mean, I assume that no one here aspires to sit on a throne and be a judge—even in heaven.
And that’s part of the difficulty in spreading the Gospel—the benefit of following Jesus doesn’t match the cost. People are asked to give up everything for a Kingdom they’re not even sure they want. And it’s part of our difficulty as a Church today too. Do we want the Kingdom of God? Are we willing to follow Jesus—to put his will ahead of our own, to pay a price for something we’re not even sure what it is?
Really, what is the Kingdom of God? It defies understanding. But, we know some things. We know that the “poor in spirit” will enter the Kingdom first—those who put their lives in Jesus’ hands will enter it first. We know there’ll be an overabundance of “family and houses and lands.” It’ll be a place of belonging. It’ll be an existence where “there is no more death or wailing or pain;” where life will finally be entirely good; it’ll be “home.”
Of course, it takes faith to believe that that’s what the Kingdom is; and to believe that the promise of Jesus can be taken seriously. Jesus asks us to put our lives into his hands; into the hands of an invisible God. And, in return for our fidelity, our sacrifice, he promises a Kingdom of perfect health, peace and happiness. It almost sounds like it belongs to the world of fiction. But, of course, it doesn’t. It’s very real.
Are we willing to be poor in spirit; to put our life into the hands of an invisible God, knowing that the reward of that faith has yet to be seen entirely? It’s a tall order Jesus asks of us. But, if we ever need encouragement, it’s good to remember that he puts himself into our hands. He entrusts his good name to us. He entrusts his words, his heart, his Body to us. Talk about a leap of faith.
But if God can put himself into our hands, that should encourage us to take a much smaller leap of faith, and put our lives into his hands.