The greatest reward isn’t a gold medal in the Olympics, or to have riches like Elon Musk. It wouldn’t even come close to being the person discovering the cure for cancer. The greatest reward bestowed to man is within reach of every person ever born, unfortunately way too many ignore it. Take the man in Mark 10:17-31 for example, who had achieved great reward in his life, but wouldn’t choose the greatest reward for his heart was too full, too full of empty things.
This man had many possessions. He was considered successful in the world. His heart must have been missing something for he went to Jesus and asked the Good Teacher, “How do I inherit eternal life?” Jesus asked him, “Why do you call me good?”
“Only God is truly good.”18
This man revealed how he walked away from receiving the greatest reward. He saw Jesus as a good teacher, and not God. He saw Jesus as another man like himself, instead of the King of kings and Lord of lords. How do you see Jesus?
Jesus went on to answer his question. “You know the commandments.” The man told him that he has obeyed all the commandments since he was young. He revealed that he has followed the ways of God for he was taught by his parents. He grew up in a religious home. Yet, something was still missing.
Jesus told him, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow Me.”21 You read that the man walked away sad for he had many possessions. He was unwilling to let go of what he built for himself. His heart was uninterested in following Jesus. He walked away from eternal life.
Jesus wanted His disciples to really understand what just took place. Jesus gave them several realities about receiving eternal life.
- “It is hard for the rich, those who trust their earthly life more than God, to enter the Kingdom of God!”23 Don’t love your earthly life more than Christ, see John 12:25-26.
- “It is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.”24 Why do you think Jesus says what He says in Matthew 7:13-14?
- “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”25 God saved you by His grace, see Ephesians 2:8-10. Nothing you do for yourself will save you.
The disciples were astounded, “Then who in the world can be saved?” I would have asked the same question.
Jesus looked at them intently for He did not want them to miss this, and He doesn’t wany you to miss this either:
- “Humanly speaking, it is impossible.”27 Read John 15:5 for further explanation.
- “But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”27 You need Jesus. I need Jesus. Stop trying to do life without Him.
Jesus is letting you and I know that there is nothing we can do to get to heaven. Nothing. Because of sin, every person born is destined for hell. Because God is love, He sent His Son to die for us and resurrect from the dead so YOU and I can choose the greatest reward which is eternal life with Christ! We were made to make this choice.
Understand that God gives you the choice to choose the greatest reward. Notice how Jesus let the man walk away. He will let you walk away too.
Peter speaks up and tells Jesus how they have given up everything to follow Him. Jesus continues sharing the reality of eternal life:
- “I assure you that everyone who has given up (any earthly relationship or possession) FOR JESUS’ SAKE AND FOR THE GOOD NEWS, will receive now in return a 100x as many (relationships and possessions) – along with persecution. In the world to come that person will have eternal life.”29-30 Let God speak to you about this. Pray for clarity and understanding.
- “Many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem the least important now will be the greatest then.”31
God’s economy is very different from the world’s economy. His ways are very different from the world’s ways. When a man follows Jesus, his whole life is changed. He has a new direction with a new attitude in why he lives the way he does.
The greatest motto you can live by as a believer in Christ is, it’s not about me. Take it from John in John 3:30, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” Don’t be like the man in the passage of Mark. He loved his earthly life more than God. There is a great inheritance when you choose the greatest reward. It goes on forever.