“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and eternal life in the age to come.” – Mark 10:29-30 (CSB)
A rich young man came to Jesus seeking to know what must be done for eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments. The man claimed to have not broken any. At this point, Jesus could have done like in the Sermon on the Mount and speak about how if you hate someone, that is like murder, or if you lust, that is like adultery, and then asked the man if he really had kept the commands. But Jesus chose a different route.
He spoke to the idol of the young man’s heart. In this case, the heart-idol was wealth. Go sell everything, Jesus told him, and give it to the poor. Instead of finding life, the man went away grieving. He wasn’t willing to repent of his heart-idol and put his trust in Jesus.
Jesus used this as a teaching moment for his disciples. He declared how difficult it was for a rich man to enter God’s Kingdom. The pull of the worldly wealth is often powerful. The disciples then wondered how could anyone be saved.
Jesus answered, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.” As long as a person has breath, there is the possibility of his life being touched by God’s Spirit, Gospel, and grace. Though we cannot save ourselves, we cannot let go of our heart-idols, we have a God who is in the business of changing hearts.
In a moment of pride, Peter began to talk about everything he and the other disciples had given up to follow Jesus. Jesus answered him in Mark 10:29-30 that he one who truly leaves home, family, and fields behind for the sake of the gospel will gain much, much more.
When we come to faith in Jesus, we hope to have Jesus and family, Jesus and a good job, Jesus and a home, Jesus and health, Jesus and… the list goes on. And for many of us, we don’t have to give up everything we have to truly follow Jesus and find salvation.
But what if we did? What if we were faced with the choice Jesus or family, Jesus or a good job, Jesus or a home, Jesus or health? What if, like the rich young man, we were faced with the choice of Jesus and all the wealth we owned? Would we be willing to give it up and follow Jesus? Do we trust Jesus enough to lay at his feet even our most beloved heart-idols?
The truth is: Even if it cost us everything we have, leaving us poor and destitute, or even costing us our lives—Jesus is worth it. And if we gave up everything to gain Jesus alone, it would be more than worth it. Jesus is an infinite treasure, unending life, and a fountain of eternal joy.
Yet, we see what Jesus said: Whatever we give up for him now, we will gain back in abundance both in this life and the life to come? If following Jesus costs us our family, we still in return become a part of a family of millions of brothers and sisters from all over the world—the great family of Jesus-followers. If following Jesus costs is our wealth, we still gain a share in the rich inheritance of creation along with Jesus in eternity. If following Jesus costs us our life, we still gain eternal life in God’s joyful Kingdom.
This is why Jesus will never let our heart-idols stand: Because it’s all mud pies compared to the holiday at sea we gain through him (to borrow from C.S. Lewis).
Whatever we lose, we gain infinitely more following Jesus.