Everyone likes rewards, right? If you are like most people, you have apps downloaded on your phone and cards in your wallet that enable you to gain points every time you frequent your favorite establishments.
Well, there are present and future rewards to being a disciple. The costs are high, but the rewards far outweigh them. God will abundantly bless you far beyond anything you give up for Him.
And what are the most noteworthy things, after all, that we give up for Jesus? Sin, misery, depression, death, and judgment. Those are what I gladly gave up for Jesus!
When Peter asked Jesus what His disciples would receive for their sacrifices in following Him, Jesus responded: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).
Jesus did promise a reward for the disciple. It’s not just giving up, denying ourselves, and picking up the cross. It is that, but God rewards—both in the present and in the future.
What is the present compensation? When you become a follower of Jesus, His presence is with you. We’re not following Him at a distance with no connection to Him. We’re following Him closely, enjoying His presence. We also receive His guidance, leading us into His purpose.
We are also adopted into His universal family. To those who have left behind brothers, sisters, father, and mother, Jesus promises a new family. Some people literally give these things up. Those who come from a Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist background and start to follow Christ are often excluded from family relationships; other parties frequently don’t want anything to do with converts anymore. So new believers lose fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sometimes even husbands or wives or children. But the Lord adopts His people into His universal family, and He says we will receive a hundredfold. He brings new relationships into our lives—spiritual parents, spiritual brothers and sisters, or spiritual children. And many Christians testify that their spiritual relationships are far superior to the physical relationships they lost. God brings us into His family. He adopts us.
And the future reward is ruling and reigning with Christ in His kingdom. One day, the Lord will come back and set up His kingdom, and we will reign with Him—“In the regeneration,” He says (Matthew 19:28b). That’s mind-boggling, but that’s the reward of a disciple.
Next week, we will conclude our series by looking at our purpose as disciples of Christ.