Can’t stop thinking about this…
Whenever Church leaders talk about how great it is to be a follower of Jesus, does it ever bother you that they always go back to the Old Testament for props for their teachings and sermons?
In the Old Testament, the reward in this life for faithfulness included the following:
Freedom from want
Respect from the community
But then in the New Testament, something else enters that idyllic picture and seems to replace it. The reward in this life for faithfulness in the New Testament:
Separation from family
My son and I are reading through the entire NT together, and that thread of persecution for following Jesus is simply unmistakable. Not only this, but Jesus Himself states that much of what was thought to be the hallmark of Old Testament faithfulness and reward would look different in the Kingdom of God that Jesus was instituing and that expectations should change. Something larger was now here, and it eclipsed what was thought to be the be all and end all of faithfulness and reward.
We don’t talk about that though.
What if instead of thinking about the OT reward of long life and material prosperity we instead thought of the blessing of having our head lopped off at age 30 by people who hated us and our Christ?
What does that do to “counting the cost”? Can any of us who have bought into the OT reward mentality truly accept the NT reward reality? Or do we keep retreating to a place that lessens the likelihood that we should ever receive a genuine NT reward—the only kind that truly matters.
Because, hey, someone once called me a bad name on my Christian blog, and I felt all persecuted.