Jesus said, Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters, or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age- houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life. Mark 10:29
Whoever comes to Me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and even life itself cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26
I would like to sew a big heavy velvet curtain and hang it (closed) in front of this Mark. I know Jesus Christ said that whoever loves family more than Him is not worthy of Him; that is a Mark I aim for, but to challenge us to hate and abandon our families scares me.
First, Mark 10:29. In context, the disciples were saying that they have left everything for Him, and He was assuring them that it would be worth it. This passage reminds me of Job who lost all of his children, his health and his wealth, but clung to his love and trust of God. Job ultimately gained twice as much wealth and more children. God is demanding, but He is generous.
As for Luke, the understating New Englander would certainly be shocked by Jesus telling us to hate our family and to hate life, but not the Mediterranean person. For us, hyperbole simply gets the point across. God is not telling us to hate life and family, except as juxtaposed against how much we should adore Him.
Help me draw that heavy curtain open and let’s look this Mark right in the eye. Face it. No one, not even our work or communities should receive our devotion, service and vigor more than Jesus Christ who came to reunite humankind with God, our Father.
Love requires sacrifice. Without sacrifice, it is only an imitation and will wear out easily.
Someday we will leave our bodies, families, vocations, and life itself, so we may as well start practicing putting God first to makes it easier to say goodbye. How wonderful it would be if my family loved him so much too that when I pass away, they are happy and excited for me. Bullseye.