In my last post, we saw how hard it is for the rich to walk in the full power of the kingdom of God. They must first overcome the temptation to depend upon wealth to fulfill their calling. Now the disciples continue with this topic.
Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
Peter seems to always be the one who speaks up, usually without thinking first. I read what he says, but I don’t know if I totally agree with it.
The fact is that Peter still owned a home. It’s clear that they went back there from time to time (Matthew 8:14).
He didn’t give up his business either. Peter, along with Andrew, James, and John, went right back to fishing after the death of Christ (John 21:3).
I think that Peter was looking at himself as being a little better than he actually was. His boasts were usually just words. If you remember, he also boasted that he would never deny the Lord.
Jesus, however, didn’t argue with them. He simply explained the kingdom principle of true giving.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields — and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Jesus is helping them to understand the truth of giving and receiving. I don’t know if they really understood it yet. I know that many in the body of Christ don’t understand it in this generation.
Some concentrate on giving, while others look for how to receive. The truth is that the giving and receiving are always tied together. Paul explained this to the Philippian church.
Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only…
This is a very rich statement. I don’t think the translators did it justice. What Paul actually says, in the original Greek, is that no one participated in the Word of giving and receiving except for them. That’s an interesting phrase – the Word of giving and receiving.
This doesn’t mean that we have to give everything away in order to please God. What it does mean is that I place everything that I have and all that I am into the Lord’s hand. I let Him know that whatever, whenever He asks, I will give without hesitation.
In our hearts, we have given everything over to God. All that I have is available for His use.
The good news is that when my hands are open before God, they’re ready for two things. With open hands, I can give, and with open hands, I can receive.
Don’t be self-deceived. The Lord’s last statement about the first and the last apply to this. Peter thought he was in line to receive. Many run to the front of the “receiving line” thinking they’ll get something from God.
Jesus taught that giving and receiving was a package deal. Put your life and all you have in the Lord’s hands. Then you can trust Him to provide all that you need.
Question: What have you been intentional about turning over to the Lord for His use?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi