But What About Us?

House in a bubble
Image credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/2864168894/in/photostream/">Hartwig Kopp Delaney</a>

Mark 10:28-31

Peter began telling him, “Look, we’ve left everything to follow you.”

Jesus said, “I assure you that anyone who leaves home, or siblings, or parents or children, or gives up their business to follow me and to engage in this great cause will get a hundred times as much back right now. You’ll have homes, siblings, parents and children, and businesses – and plenty of trouble. And you will be immortal. But many folks who are used to being first will be last, and the last will get their turn first.”

The question is one we all ask ourselves now and again. Is what I’m striving for worth what it’s going to cost me to achieve it? That’s great, Jesus, that you’re helping all these people, but what about us?

I’ve noted before that the disciples have signed on for being in the inner circle when Jesus takes over. Jesus’ repudiation of the quest for wealth and power has finally sunk in. And he wants to know: if that’s not what we’re getting out of this, then what are we doing here?

Jesus never did promise them they’d be in the inner circle, or rich, or powerful. He promised them he’d teach them “how to capture people’s hearts.” And, if they can finally learn to do that, they will never lack a home, or close fellowship. And they will always have plenty to do.

But to have these things, to really be related to the hundred-fold abundance of humanity, you have to really care. You really do have to put them first. And that’s the paradox. You can’t “care” for people if you’re all the while expecting them to care for you. You can’t capture their hearts if you see them as a means to your own ends.

As it turns out, the only way to gain the rewards Jesus offers is to be the first to divest yourself of whatever privilege you have of going first. Put another way: it’s not about helping yourself. It’s about helping someone else get their turn.