A Hundred Times Better

If I told you that I could give you something that is one hundred times better than what you have, would you take me up on my offer? Of course, you would! That’s what we call a “no-brainer!”

Did you know that Jesus made that same offer? The question is, do we believe Him?

In Mark 10:17-31, Jesus has an encounter with a rich young ruler. The young man asked a sincere question: What shall I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus answers by listing some of the ten commandments, which the man knows, and claims to have kept since he was a child. He was a religious, God-fearing man, yet he lacked eternal life, and he knew it.

I love how Mark describes Jesus’ response to the man’s assumption that he had lived a life that met the standards of the Law. Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him. The rest of their conversation reveals that Jesus saw right into the man’s heart. Literally, He knew the heart of the matter – the one thing that would keep this man out of heaven…the one thing he would hold on to so tightly that it would cause him to enter eternity and face God’s judgment. Jesus wasn’t mad at him or disappointed in him, or frustrated with him. Jesus loved him anyway.

What was the issue? Jesus challenged the man to sell all his possessions, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow Him. Jesus wasn’t teaching a “poverty” version of the gospel. He was speaking specifically into this man’s heart, to his personal spiritual condition. He was giving us a principle. Eternal life is available when we repent (turn away) from all that holds our heart and be willing to give it all up and surrender completely to Jesus’ authority and teaching. That’s what a true disciple does. The man couldn’t do it. He had too much stuff, too much money in the bank, too many pieces of property with his name on the deed. He knew exactly what Jesus was asking and it saddened and grieved him, but He couldn’t let it go.

As he walked away, Jesus reminds His disciples that it’s hard to enter the kingdom of God. It’s simple, but as we count the cost of discipleship, it’s not easy. In fact, unless God does His work in our hearts, it’s impossible (10:27). Jesus demands all of us, not just the parts of our lives we want Him to fix. The disciples were beginning to understand this. Peter replies, “We’ve left everything to follow You!”

Here’s where Jesus makes that incredible offer that we are foolish to ignore.

Mark 10:29-30 – 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 farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the ages to come, eternal life.

There it is. It’s a hundred times better to serve Jesus than anything this life offers you.

I quote this verse often to my daughter, who is serving God far away from all that’s beloved and familiar, in obedience to the call on her life. She and her husband and children have given up a lot for the sake of the gospel, but she would tell you without doubt or hesitation, serving Jesus with a whole heart is a hundred times better.

She’s not alone, however, and you don’t have to sell your house and move 5,000 miles to serve God (unless He specifically calls you). God is after our hearts. It may be as simple as letting go of a relationship, an addiction, a career aspiration. It’s laying everything we are and have and hope to be at Jesus’ feet for Him to decide what to do with all of it. It’s a shift in perspective from owning anything to simply being a steward of God’s kingdom resources, including the resource of our very lives.

Good works and religion aren’t the answer. We all must come to the realization that no matter how good we are at keeping the law, it’s not enough. Jesus sees our hearts. He knows that one thing you’re unwilling to give up and follow Him completely and loves you in spite of it. His compassion causes Him to point it out, but He won’t pry it from your hand. You have to give it up willingly. And when you do, you’ll realize He was right. Life in Christ today, right here and now, is more than a hundred times better; and when you die, it’s priceless.

Today’s takeaway is for believers and non-believers. What do you need to let go of today to follow Jesus fully? Trust me, it’s not worth holding onto. Your decision has eternal implications. Open your heart and hands and choose what’s better.

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