Fuzzy Thoughts of David

The Bitterness of the Gospel

The man walked away depressed. Jesus had just told him that to gain eternal life he would have to give up all that he had and sell everything. Since he was rich, the news wasn’t all that good.

As the man walked away, Jesus told those standing around how difficult it was for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. As shock was being expressed by those who were realizing what Jesus was saying, he comforted them by acknowledging that with God all things were possible.

Peter spoke up and said "We have left everything for you." When I read these passages I usually miss this statement from Peter. For Peter, the gospel meant leaving everything. Jesus responded, "no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life." (Luke 18:28-30). Could it be that Peter had left house, wife, and all for the sake of the gospel? I believe that he did.

I don’t know about you, but there are times when Mr. Bitterness (as a friend of mine calls ‘him’) shows up. I don’t think that Peter was bitter in this passage, but I know I am when I say the same things to Jesus. There are times when what I’ve sacrificed for the gospel become very real and very painful. Then if things don’t go my way it is easy to say, "Look what I’ve given up…."

Living in America it is easy to see what others have and begin to envy their lifestyle, what they have, where they go on vacation, knowing that you could do the same thing, if you weren’t doing what you were doing for the gospel. At the same time, there are others, many others, who have given up much more than I have. They have sacrificed their families, their health and their very lives. As you read this there are those who are not sitting behind a desk looking at a monitor or laptop screen. They are bruised, broken and in jail. They have given all to follow Jesus.

There is a bitterness to the gospel. While it is definitely Good News, it also calls for sacrifice. Jesus assures us, however, that whatever we give up, it will be worth it. One day we will be so glad that we made the sacrifice, that we sent Mr. Bitterness on his way to someone else’s house, and continued to give all that we could for the sake of the Gospel. Until then, we rest in knowing we are doing all that we do for Him.

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