When individuals embark upon a life of discipleship in Christ, they commence a life of sacrifice. Our Lord said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). This fills some with hesitation. Yet, what we forsake is mere trifles compared to the treasure we receive. The treasure and joy we gain in the present--and which awaits us in eternity--far surpasses all that we may lose in this life. Christians, no less than unbelievers who are hesitant to yield their life to Christ, do well to remind themselves of this sure promise.
CS Lewis once famously said:
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.1
No matter how difficult this life of discipleship may be, it is worth it. Our Lord Jesus makes this very point in the parables of Matthew 13. A man unexpectedly discovers in a field a great treasure. A merchant finds a pearl of great worth. The man in the field sells all he has to purchase one thing. The merchant sells all that he has to purchase just one thing. They value this one thing above all else. More than that, they value this one thing more than all other things combined. The Kingdom of God is exactly like that, said Christ. It is worth it.
This may strike us as extreme. What loss comes from following Christ. Interestingly, Jesus tells us that the man went away from the field with joy, not with sorrow (Matthew 13:44-46). That detail is not a mistake made by either Mattew or Christ. He purposefully attributes this affection to the man. Because great joy is found in the Kingdom. Any sacrifice made it for it is worth it. We all need this reminder throughout our lives. It is worth yielding ourselves to the King and His Kingdom, not just in the moment of saving faith, but in all of life. It is worth being a living sacrifice unto the Lord (Romans 12:1-2). Whether you eat or drink or whatever we do, doing it unto the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31). It is worth it. The more invested we are in the Kingdom here, the more we enjoy it here and in the life to come. The more we yield ourselves to this King, the more we know of Him and all His benefits.
My friends, we will never regret the time that we spend sacrificing for others for the sake of the Kingdom. We will never regret the effort employed in fighting sin for the sake of the Kingdom. We will never regret the energy spent seeking righteousness for the sake of the Kingdom. Whatever we give for the Kingdom we will never regret. I dare say, we will never want a refund, never want to exchange this Kingdom for something else, never want a redo, because its value far surpasses all that we would so-call sacrifice in the here and now. I am no prophet, but I would give you this guarantee, if you invest in the Kingdom you will never walk away disappointed. Never.
How can I give you such an overwhelming guarantee? First, history and experience prove it. I have never heard of or read about a Christian laying on his deathbed wishing that he had never given himself to the Kingdom, or held a little more back from the Kingdom, kept a little more in reserve, been a little less passionate, a little less serious about his faith, a little less concerned about the things of God, a little less time spent with Christ, and a little more selfish, a little more worldy, been a little more invested in a few other things. I have never heard it, never read it, and never will—because it doesn’t happen. Every citizen of the Heavenly Kingdom knows--as Peter said--that we have, “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Peter 1:4). It is worth selling everything for, it is worth giving everything to, because everything else pales in comparison.
Yet, more importantly, I can give you this guarantee because the ever-faithful King of Kings gives Himself to us in the Kingdom. He who holds all the treasures of heaven and earth in His hands, who has been given all things by the Father, who defines beauty, goodness, truth, and love is forever ours. The Kingdom is worth every investment, every sacrifice, and every loss because the treasure is so great. Nothing can surpass the worth of Christ. Above everything else that He promises those who follow Him, He promises to give Himself to us.
Give yourselves wholly to the Kingdom in faith and in discipleship. It is worth it. It is worth the investment. You will never walk away disappointed.
1. C.S. Lewis "The Weight of Glory," Theology (Nov. 1941), p. 1