The sacrifices of following Jesus…

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Matthew 13:44 (Jesus said) “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

People who heard Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God (a message compared here to “treasure” and “fine pearls”) gave everything in order to follow him: home, family, vocation, and so on. Jesus both recognizes the extent of their sacrifice but also the incredible worth of the Kingdom of God.

While today’s new Christians don’t generally have to make such enormous sacrifices to follow Jesus, there are usually significant sacrifices nonetheless. There are often people a new Christian must let go of in order to follow Jesus. There are familiar habits and hobbies that may not make sense for a Christian to continue. I’ve even known some new Christians who changed jobs because what they were doing for a living didn’t square with their new sense of right and wrong.

I know when I first started following Jesus in a serious way back in my mid 20s it wasn’t an easy transition. Over a period of 2-3 years I had to realign much of my life, especially some relationships. That was painful. But there were also new relationships which I appreciated very much. Plus just orienting life to follow where Jesus leads has been an enormous blessing. The positive has outweighed the negative by a long shot. But it’s hard, especially at first. The sacrifices we make as new believers are very concrete but the benefits and blessings are a bit fuzzy because they are mostly in the future.

If you’re a relatively new Christian I want to encourage you. The changes are hard, but the blessings are literally forever. Stay with it! Lean on Jesus to bear you up when you feel like giving up and going back to the life you used to know. The best things are in front of you, not behind you. Lord let it be so. Amen.

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