Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 5 August 2015

Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. Mark 9, verse 41.

Is Jesus talking about heaven or earth here?   Is He talking about an eternal reward in the life everlasting with Him, or is He talking about being rewarded more temporally here in ways we can relate to now?

Yes.

Yes?   It’s really that simple?   Yes it is.   This is simple?   Actually, again, yes it is. Not answering the questions above would be a dodge, and if our Lord does anything, He doesn’t dodge.   Jesus is upfront, teaching and loving even in justice, and always getting to the nub of an issue.   If He answers things in ways that seem oblique to us, it isn’t He who is oblique.

Of course Jesus is talking about that earthly reward, the things you get here.   He’s not going all Joel Osteen, preaching a prosperity gospel of “get rich through My wishing well, guys.”   Not hardly.   But Jesus is promising us a reward here and now: Him.   In Him is more than enough for everything we could comprehend; in Him are found solutions to any issue we could devise. What’s more, we don’t have to live our lives in Him: we get to.   That’s a concept we’ve explored before and it’s worth doing so again.   Faith is a ‘get to’ kind of thing, a real groovy kind of love kind of thing. We don’t have to do it: we get to live our lives following Jesus.   Make no mistake about it:   Joel and the other perfect-hairs have it wrong.   Jesus doesn’t promise us riches or prosperity; if anything, He promises we will walk a tougher earthly road by following Him.   And yet, in reassuring us, He also promises us the unending wealth of Himself, which makes us richer and more prosperous inside that we ever could be with billions and bling.

We get to live with Him now.   We are part of eternity now.   It is part of our lives here and now, and that can change everything.   If we get rich off it, well, count that as another good blessing.   But money isn’t the point:   Jesus is the point.   Jesus is the point now, in our lives here and now on the Third Rock so that we might share Him with others and they might be rich in Him as well.

And, yes, of course Jesus is talking about life everlasting.   It really is a both/and kind of answer, a having your cake and eating it too on a level we hadn’t thought of. Jesus is talking about how, when we profess Him to the world, He smiles and prepares our places with Him forever.   All too often, we use heaven as the ultimate cop out; something we can promise to people but never have to deliver, never have to prove.   The truth is we really don’t have to prove it because Jesus already did.   In this verse, He reminds us that His words are true and reliable. Because of that we can count on receiving a permanent reward with Him in heaven forever. Being for Him means we aren’t against Him and He is never against us, always for us.

Yes, it really is that simple.

Lord, thank You for Your promises of my reward, and for making all of it possible.

Read Mark 9, verses 42-50.

 

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