We aren’t Christians because it’s an easier life, but because we believe Jesus is the Son of God. Nevertheless, when we follow Christ we pursue a way of life that is consistent with God’s creative purposes for us. In other words, it may not be easier, but it leads to what Jesus calls the “abundant” life.
In so many ways it’s counterintuitive, though. Jesus reigns over an upside-down kingdom . . . it subverts the way that comes naturally to us in our unregenerate state.
In a heart-wrenching speech that Paul gave to a group of elders from Ephesus, he touches on one of those counterintuitive aspects: “It is better to give than to receive.”
But that goes against our nature, doesn’t it? Ask any two-year-old if he’d rather be given a toy or give a toy away, and we all know what he’d choose pretty much every time. Truth is, most people never grow out of it.
But when Paul quotes Jesus here, he gives insight into a way of living that leads to greater blessings. It probably won’t be greater blessings quantitatively–as in more financial rewards–but it’ll be a qualitatively better life.
Tomorrow we’ll explore this aspect of walking with Jesus, reflecting on how he calls us to do things that don’t come naturally to us . . . but that bring us closer to him, and thus a better way of living.