Some passages in the Bible have always perplexed me. I experience absolute joy when I get that aha feeling when a muddled text become picture clear. I think I mentioned before that our community is in the process of talking about the nuts and bolts of our social responsibility here in Johannesburg and in the larger context of South Africa and the rest of Africa.
A few evenings ago I browsed through Ron Sider’s book “Rich Christians in an age of hunger.” It was then that the lights came on. In Mark 10:28-30 Peter asks/ reminds Jesus of the sacrifices he and his friends made in following Jesus. Peter’s speech followed Jesus’ shocking saying that it will be very hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is then that Peter lists all the things they gave away in pursuing Christ. Almost like saying,
“We’re not like the rich – see here are the things we gave away”
By asking the question he’s also trying to find out what their reward will be (I love Peter!) Jesus responds with a statement that I’ve not understood for a long time,
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
So what is Jesus saying here? Is he propagating the same teachings you can hear on Christian television by a guy in a purple suite claiming that he gave his limousine away and then God sent him a hundred from Ghana? I don’t think so …
As followers of Christ we are only stewards of possessions, we own nothing – God owns everything. If all of us live with open hands, with the attitude of stewards then we’ll be willing to share what we have, imagine how much resources we then have in our global kingdom pool!