And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29 ESV)
There is a tension that Christians face: we live in one place, but our true home is in another. We witness this tension in a couple of ways. One is the propensity to treat church like a bunker and try to escape the world. Another, better display of this tension, is the looking forward to eternal life while embracing where God has placed us now. Faithfully anticipating our inheritance rather than demanding it right now is both a mark of maturity and faith. It allows eternal life its proper place as a motivator in our hearts.
Jesus speaks of eternal reward with a rich young man (Matthew 19:21) and also in today’s text with the Disciples. The idea of seeking rewards of any sort might seem counterproductive to the Christian life. But, why would Jesus mention to the Disciples that they “will receive a hundredfold” if he didn’t want that to motivate them? How could the majority of the Disciples die a martyr’s death if there wasn’t a motivation of eternal reward in their hearts?
This is another area where we see this tension play out in the battle of “Now vs. Later.” We should be aching for God’s promised eternal reward, but we should also be selfless like Jesus (Mark 10:45; 1 John 2:6). Here’s the solution: our reward is God himself (Numbers 18:20). Though heaven is filled with beautiful things, it is only the place where we will enjoy our eternal reward. Whatever we desire now should be considered in light of our eternal reward, God himself.
Start looking at the long term, eternity. Let the motivation of eternal rewards give you a new view of the situation God has put you in and use it to glorify Him.