Present Blessings, Plus PersecutionsMark 10:29-30Theme: Wealth in Christ.This week’s lessons teach us about the rewards that are ours when we deny ourselves. LessonMoses, you are another of God’s choice servants. You forsook Egypt with its pleasures and wealth to obey God in leading a nation of slaves through the desert. You died in the desert. Wouldn’t you say that you had made a bad bargain?
Moses answers, “A bad bargain? Not at all! It is true that I left Egypt, regarding ‘disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt,’ but I did so because I was ‘looking ahead to [my] reward,’ as the author of Hebrews says (Heb. 11:26). I received a great nation as my family – in addition to a natural family of my own. I saw the Promised Land and even received it by faith. Most important, I saw God and, in comparison with that blessing, nothing else really matters.”
We’ll forget about you, David. We know what you’ll say. You’ll say that God took you from following the sheep and made you the greatest of Israel’s kings. You had many wives, children, palaces, and fields. But let’s talk to Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, Samuel, and the prophets.
The Bible says that these “through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised” (Heb. 11:33).
Let’s talk about Paul. Paul wrote, “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:24-28). Does that sound like material rewards? Does that sound like homes, family, and fields in great measure?
It is true that Paul (like the other apostles) was chosen to be a spectacle of great suffering, but even he does not call discipleship a bad bargain. While in prison he wrote, “I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied” (Phil 4:18).
Not one of the apostles would ever have considered his decision to follow Christ unfortunate. Study Questions
What can we learn from Abraham, Moses, and David about the life of discipleship?
What did Moses consider to be his greatest blessing?
In the midst of great suffering, how did Paul view his wholehearted choice to live for Christ (Phil. 3:8)?
Further StudyRead Hebrews 11 to gain a broad view of life-long discipleship. Study the hardships endured as well as the great feats these individuals accomplished. What enabled all of them to follow God? How were they rewarded?