Christ's Estimate of a Christian Life
Luke 18:28, 29
Then Peter said, See, we have left all, and followed you.…

It is certain that no literalist could ever understand Jesus Christ. Men of this order of mind utterly failed to understand him in his own time (see particularly John 6:41-46), and they are equally at fault to-day. It is clearly impossible to give a literal interpretation to these words of the Lord; the facts of the case do not permit it. But going to the heart of this Divine utterance, we understand that any one who for Christ's sake suffers the loss of kindred and of worldly goods, shall have that which, in the sight of God and in the light of his truth, is worth a hundred times more than any human or earthly blessings can be. We shall better see the truthfulness of this declaration if we approach the main thought from a little distance, and consider that human life is something the value of which depends not on the quantity but on the kind of it. A small quantity of human life outweighs in value a large amount of animal life. A very small portion of the higher human life transcends in value a large extent of lower human life. "Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay." Bailey has well written -

"Life's more than breath and the quick round of blood;
It is a great spirit and a busy heart.
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best." And there is wisdom as well as strength in the lines -

"One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name." Lifting up this truth to the spiritual level of the teaching of Jesus Christ, we find that in such a life as that which is of him and in him - for the attainment of which we may have to make very great sacrifices -

I. THERE IS AN ELEVATED AND TRANSPORTING JOY experienced in the very endurance of persecution; and this alone goes far towards fulfilling the Saviour's word. This statement is simply historical. The apostles returned from the council, condemned and severely scourged, "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his Name." Paul and Silas sang the praises of God in the darkness and foulness of a Philippian dungeon. And under every sky since then, men and women, old and young and in the midst of life, have gone to the dungeon and to the stake and to the open grave in which they were to be buried alive, not with tears in their eyes and lamentations on their tongues, but with songs of praise upon their lips, and with keen, exultant triumph in their hearts. To-day there is far more of real and lasting joy to be found under the roof of the missionary compound than in the palatial buildings of European capitals, profounder and more lasting satisfaction in the self-sacrificing labours of the evangelist than in the lounging idleness of the sons and daughters of fashion and of pleasure.

II. IN TRUE DISCIPLESHIP THERE ARE SOURCES OF JOY which altogether outweigh any losses that may be entailed by fidelity. Some people know just enough of "religion to find it a weariness, a burden, an anxiety. This is neither piety nor policy; it does not secure God's favour, and it gives no satisfaction to them. But the true and thorough servant of Jesus Christ, heartily surrendering himself to his Divine Redeemer, and devotedly engaging in his service, has "manifold more" of blessedness than he loses by anything with which he parts. He has

(1) the favour, the forgiving and abiding love of God his Father; his lifelong, his unfailing friendship;

(2) happy, holy fellowship with Jesus Christ, and, through him, with the true and pure and good amongst men;

(3) a share in that holy service, outside of which is no rectitude for man, in which is rightness and wisdom, and therefore peace and joy;

(4) the luxury, the blessedness of usefulness, of doing good and communicating, of being a source of strength and healing to the poor and needy;

(5) "And in the world to come eternal life: not the lingering and lasting shadows into which Greek and, Roman shrank from descending; not the uninviting sheol of the Hebrews; but everlasting day, eternal life - life in its fulness, its freedom, its blessedness, its glory, life never ceasing but enlarging and unfolding evermore. What commanding, convincing, constraining reasons are here for choosing the Master's service! What is it that he asks us to surrender for his sake? Anything in the way of profit, or pleasure, or companionship? Perhaps something in these ways. But what we gain by accepting him as Saviour and Friend is a thousand times more precious than all that we can be called upon to renounce. Even here and now God gives to us far more than he takes from us; and, beside this, in the world to come is eternal life." We may well do as Peter said he and his associates had done - leave all to follow Christ. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.

WEB: Peter said, "Look, we have left everything, and followed you."

Wealth and Piety
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