no benefits in the contract
"Someone said to Him, 'I will be Your follower wherever You go.' Jesus said to him, 'The foxes have lairs, the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.' " —Luke 9:57-58
Today when people decide to follow Jesus, we often tell them that they're going to have not just a new life but a better lifestyle. In a church of padded pews, carpeted sanctuaries, and air-conditioned cathedrals, we find it incongruous to talk as Jesus did. He did not even promise His followers a roof over their heads, but we promise them prosperity, comfort, possessions, and enjoyment. Jesus does sometimes improve a person's lifestyle, but He avoids making that an incentive for following Him.
In fact, Jesus gives no incentives to follow Him. Although He could promise us the ultimate prosperity of heaven, He doesn't seem to emphasize this when He calls us to follow Him. He isn't calling us to follow heaven or not to follow hell. He calls us to follow Him.
When Jesus calls a person to Himself, He calls them to the cross — to suffering, death, and unconditional love. The true follower of Jesus does not try to get anything out of following Jesus but tries to get out of that selfish attitude. When Jesus became a man and died for us, He didn't need anything from us. He did it because He loved us. We must respond accordingly.
Prayer: Jesus, may I love You unconditionally, even if I suffer as Job did.
Promise: "He does great things past finding out, marvelous things beyond reckoning." —Jb 9:10
Praise: St. Therese took as her motto that of St. John of the Cross: "Love is repaid by love alone."
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet on Accepting Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God or on audio AV 43-1 or video V-43.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 1, 2008
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