In this life, there are many aspects we crave for assurances on. We want to have promised to us a safe dwelling to call home, a stable source of good food. We also desire more intangible things — security for ourselves and loved ones, stable employment, happiness, the opportunity to socialize with those we share interests in.
All of the above are important to most of us. All the above are, at times, not easy to achieve alone. On this note, which of the above does Jesus support us in achieving?
None of the above.
In fact, He is very direct about this reality with prospective disciples and followers in Matthew 8:19-20:
A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
Jesus refuses to promise this scribe, a man who wishes to follow Jesus through His journey, even a place to sleep each night. This is not what Jesus is there to offer him.
Jesus, in multiple situations, works to disillusion those coming to Him of their ideas of prosperity. Many came to Christ looking for worldly benefits. Those same individuals commonly left Christ crestfallen. He did not offer them what they were seeking. Think on the young man who came to Jesus in Matthew 19:21-22:
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
This young man had such difficulty separating himself from his material wealth, it stopped him from following Christ’s instructions. Many of Jesus’ time were confused as to what He was and was not offering. In fact, this is still such a big problem to this day we have a name for it; “Prosperity Gospel”. Jesus Christ did not come and die to make our earthly days better by any margin. The reason for every day Christ spent with us was to open grace to us and to open our hearts and minds to grace.
I have had times in my life where difficulties would be convenient to blame upon God. I have had to remind myself my employment hardships, academic struggles, etc. have no bearing on Christ’s relationship to me — these are not the things He offers me, but greater gifts. Gifts which will matter far after my mundane struggles have been forgotten and replaced and forgotten again.