Leaving it All Behind

Matthew 19:29-30 ESV

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Following Jesus Christ with our lives, if our faith in Christ is genuine God-given faith, involves total surrender of our lives to Jesus Christ, the denial of self, daily dying to sin and to self, and following Jesus Christ in obedience wherever he leads us. So, it is not just about forsaking our sins and following our Lord’s biblical commands, but it is about giving our lives fully over to the Lord for his purposes, and for his glory, regardless of what we must forsake in order to do his will, and regardless of the consequences.

Many times in my married life the Lord has uprooted us and he has sent us someplace else. Now, I am not saying that every move we made was of him, but I do believe many of them were. And this didn’t mean that everything was “smooth sailing,” just because the Lord’s hand was in the move. Many times it resulted in difficulties, trials, tribulations, persecutions, and rejections. So, just because you leave behind your house and possessions, and you go where the Lord sends you, it is not a guarantee that you are going to be blessed with more of what you had before.

I can still recall with pretty good clarity the night the Lord had me up late in the night and he was speaking to me, and he was asking me if I would leave it all behind to go with him wherever he would send me. Now, all of our children were grown at this time, and all of them were not more than an hour away, and some of them were not more than 10 minutes away. And we also had 12 grandchildren at that time, too. So, leaving them would be a hard thing to do, but I told the Lord, “Yes,” even though I did not know what was coming, but I knew he was preparing me for something.

Well, in the morning my husband announced to me that he wanted to retire and to move back to our hometown 500 miles away so that he could take care of his dad and his stepmother who both had disabilities. So, this was what the Lord was preparing me for in the night. And so we sold our house, downsized everything we owned in half or more, packed up our belongings, and moved 500 miles away from our children and our grandchildren. But, again, just because we went where the Lord was sending us, it didn’t mean everything would be rosy.

Five months after we got there we got bed bugs in our apartment, for they were all throughout the apartment building, although we were unaware of that. And I broke out in huge bites which were extremely painful, and this all lasted for maybe a month or so. And then there were other trials we faced, too, and after a year and a half there we both knew that it was time to leave, and then the Lord sent us to Nashville, TN, for two years before sending us back home to our children and to our grandchildren. And I will spare you all the details. But I know the Lord had a plan and a purpose.

So, I know that we are not being given a literal promise here that if we leave it all behind us to go where the Lord sends us that he is going to give us physical treasures greater than what we had before. I liked what Barnes’ Notes on the Bible said about this:

“Shall receive a hundred-fold – Mark says ‘a hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters,’ etc. A hundred-fold means a hundred times as much. This is not to be understood literally, but that he will give what will be worth 100 times as much in the peace, and joy, and rewards of religion. It is also literally true that no man’s temporal interest is injured by the love of God. Mark adds, ‘with persecutions.’ These are not promised as a part of the reward; but amid their trials and persecutions they should find reward and peace.”

So, it is true that we will be blessed of God if we forsake all to follow him. When he specifically directs us to leave a place – which may mean selling our homes and getting rid of possessions, and leaving loved ones behind us to go places that are unknown, or to go to situations that are somewhat unknown, and which may even be troublesome for us, and which may bring about much in the way of persecutions, too – we will be blessed. And we will be rewarded with the peace and joy of the Lord in knowing that we obeyed the Lord, and we did what he said. And so we trust him with the results.

Wherever He Leads I’ll Go

By B.B. McKinney

“Take up thy cross and follow Me,”
I heard my Master say
“I gave My life to ransom thee
Surrender your all today.”

He drew me closer to His side
I sought His will to know
And in that will I now abide
Wherever He leads I’ll go

My heart, my life, my all I bring
To Christ who loves me so
He is my Master, Lord, and King
Wherever He leads I’ll go

Wherever He leads I’ll go
Wherever He leads I’ll go
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so
Wherever He leads I’ll go

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