24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will if be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going fo come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each rerson according to what they have done.’Matthew 16:24-27
29 “Truly | tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 39 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”Luke 18:29-30
Many of us surround our lives and our children with comforts and cling wrap. But the “easy” and “safe” way is sterile and ultimately unrewarding. Dave and Karen decided to raise their three kids on the literal frontlines. For the rest of us, regardless of where we live, living a life on mission will require that we sometimes deny ourselves ease and comfort, and instead embrace the cost of bringing God’s kingdom to this world. Still, it is a small price to pay—and one that yields great reward. Jesus assures us that as we deny ourselves and take up our cross, “he will reward each person according to what they have done.” (Matt 16:27) Not only in heaven, but already in this life, he may reward us in at least three ways…
A life on mission is rewarded with rich relationships. We may prefer to handpick our circle of relationships, but when we follow God to the people he leads us to, he often surprises us with unexpected relationships there. As Karen says, “My kids have thousands of aunts and uncles here.” As Jesus said, ‘no one who has left [anything or anyone] for the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come.’” (Luke 18:29-30)
A life on mission is rewarded with all kinds of personal growth. For example, one of Dave and Karen’s daughters says, “We wouldn’t have learnt the things we have… like humility and hospitality.” In the jungles and on the frontlines, the children learnt a kind of humility that was fused to spiritual boldness. “[My dad] always tells me, ‘Be bold in the things of Jesus, and humble in the things of yourself.’” This advice is best lived out on the frontlines of mission.
A life on mission is rewarded with regret-free joy. “My mom and dad gave me this amazing life,” their youngest says. As viewers of the movie, we might prefer to live somewhere more organized and safe. But let’s not forget that real joy is never found in a place or particular set of circumstances we can control. Rather, it is found by living a life on mission, wherever God has called us to be. The son knows this: “If I could live anywhere… I’d choose Burma.” He continues, “Most of the time I just thank God that I am still alive and running around having fun on this earth.”
- Rich relationships. Personal growth. Regret-free joy. Have you experienced any of these rewards as you have given yourself to the mission God has for you?
- Do you feel called to the place you currently live in, and to the people you currently live alongside?
- How may the promise of reward motivate you to give all you have got to a life lived on mission for God?