“Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
As Jesus finishes His missionary discourse, the disciples have left their homes to follow Him. They are tasked to go and tell the good news that “the kingdom of Heaven has come near,” something which will not be accepted by everyone. Jesus tells them to sacrifice all in order to follow Him, even father or mother, son or daughter. He says, “whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
We face the same question: what makes our lives worthy? In the eyes of society, a worthy life might be rated by a career, a home, or a family (or all three). But where is Jesus? Sometimes speaking the good news threatens these things, and I worry about being left with nothing. What will happen if I lose my reputation, my friendships, my job—all because I tried to tell someone about Jesus? Yet Jesus tells us that “those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”
Why isn’t just believing in Jesus all it takes? Why does He call me to step outside my comfort zone? When I ask these questions, Jesus reminds me that He is worth the risk. In the Gospel passage, He says, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” As Jesus acts with the authority of the Father, I am given the same authority. Those who accept me also accept God and “none of these will lose their reward.” If I can find courage to speak, then I bring a reward to those close to me and multiply the number of people who will find their life in the kingdom of Heaven.
In a world that places value on the secular–and sometimes contempt on religion–it can be scary to speak to others about our faith. We might fear losing our reputation, friendships, or family members. Yet these are our crosses to bear in order to bring the good news to those who are ready to receive it. Though these sacrifices might be difficult, they are only temporary. The reward, however, is eternal.