Prosperity, Eternity (8): Where are the ‘Hundred-fold Brethren'?
by Eferovo Igho
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Think about this seriously: Peter and the other disciples of Jesus Christ have just given over everything to God; and it does not yet appear to them what their reward would be; and to clear any doubt Peter had ask Jesus what those of them who have forsaken all to follow Him would have. Jesus answered and said unto Peter and the others: “Verily I say unto you. There is no man that has left house, or brethren, or sister, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an HUNDREDFOLD NOW IN THIS TIME, house and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the life to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first” (Mark. 10:29 – 31, emphasis is mine; see also Matthew 19:27-30 and Luke 18:28-30)
Jesus gave strong assurance to those who have left all to follow Him. He promised they would get in return hundredfold of all they left behind; not just in eternity but NOW. Yes, after now eternal life; but He is here still very particular about the present state of the believers who have forsaken all. Of this present time or NOW He says: “… he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, house and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions’. We all know that to achieve or realize this He has blessed the Church accordingly or well enough.
But alas many channels He has prepared to flow through to those in need among the brethren are blocked at the exit end; ever receiving but letting go in trickles at convenience and some, not letting go at all. And to the many in need in the Church and especially those in the mission fields it is as if those great verses of scriptures above are not being fulfilled in many circles in the Church. They appear not to see the hundred folds of these things: the houses (or the comforting households), the brethren, the sisters, the mothers, the children and the lands.
All they seem to see is the deprivations and persecutions; that is, the deprivation from within and persecution from without. As the persecution from without is biting hard so is the denials from within; as they get the hard side of the promise i.e. persecution, the comforting side of the promise i.e. the hundred fold of each of those lists looks elusive in the main. This is raising a lot of questions in the minds of many a missionaries, and other serious brethren who have apparently forsaken all. They know that the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ Jesus; and they are not in doubt of this. They know God has provided for His work. It’s just that many that God has made rich channels primarily for this chief purpose have them blocked. No bowel of mercy! What you see are men staying in ceiled houses with their loved ones, living fat at the expense of Christ’s Church which they say they belong.
Yet, they are expecting to be ‘raptured’ by the Head of the Church not figuring that they are stumbling blocks who are denying the brethren especially those in mission fields their due and denying the mission fields themselves their due. While many of these missionaries are coming away from the mission fields and coming to be at ease with the generality of the rest in Zion and some indeed are out rightly backsliding all due to the inaction of these ‘channels’ they (‘channels’) are expecting safe haven in Heaven with the rapture. God has not forgotten any of His children: He has given to meet all the needs, but some channels are consuming these things on their lust! Whereas Our Savior’s promise of hundred fold supply of the need of the Church is to be fulfilled in those He has prospered and or shall prosper for this purpose, many are making these things cankered.
Do our churches and brethren represent hundredfold brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, wives, children to our missionaries? Do they represent hundredfold land and houses to the brethren in need? Are you in the hundredfold? Are you in the hundredfold brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, wives, children that the brethren must run to, to get succor? Are you a channel of blessing to Christ’s Church? Are you doing good to all men ESPECIALLY TO THOSE IN THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH (Galatians 6:10)?
Or do you stay in ceiled houses; are you living sumptuously, are you and your family surfeiting; are you running and clamoring after the world and being acquisitive like the children of this world without hope after now; do you love the world and the things that are in the world and forget that godliness with contentment is great gain; are you laying up cankered treasures for yourself and household under the cover of ‘he that will not take care of his family is worse than an infidel’? Yes, you must take care of the need of the family. It is ‘need’ and not ‘excesses’. And need must be defined by the spirit and not the flesh and lust of the eye which are all insatiable. The definition of needs by the flesh is the problem confronting the Church and God’s work together.
God has given to His Church what would meet all its needs several times over, but the needs of the Church are hardly met because some people are holding on to what can meet their needs ten or hundred or even thousand times over. Appetite will be the ruin of many. Until we learn and take it to heart that godliness with contentment is great gain; we shall continue to block our channels at the exit end, and to that extent distribution may not be made to everyman according to his needs and we retaining that which is according to our needs, to the end that there will not be those that have more than is necessary and there will not be any that lack in our midst which is the heart of Scriptures in our relationship as Christians.
Let us do good to all men especially those in the household of faith. As channels which we all are, let our spirits always remind us of the ‘especially’. And do you even know that those who have hazarded their lives for the gospel’s sake (e.g. the missionaries) are uppermost in the ESPECIALLY? Should we not know, and act rightly? Shall we not endeavor to be in the hundred folds: the houses (or the comforting households), the brethren, the sisters, the mothers, the children and the lands Christ promised those who have left all to follow Him?
Child of God, are you a refuge to the needy believers, the missionaries and the persecuted? Do you succor them? Do you make them comfortable? Do we make them see the sweet fellowship and goodness of Christ that the Holy Bible speaks lavishly about? Do we care for these ones who have the Blood of Jesus in them as you? Do we think there are better brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, wives and children to us outside the Household of Faith? Why then do we love our ceiled houses! Who get better part of us? ‘They’: the fleshy and temporary relations, or ‘we’: the spiritual and eternal relations? Think about it!
Can we consider this Jesus answer to Peter’s question without visiting verse 31 of Mark 10:29-31 earlier quoted? Do you see clearly that the concluding statement of our Lord to Peter’s question is even more fearful: “But many that are first shall be last; and the last first”? If context is anything to go by then you must be reminded that this is connected to being in the hundredfold team or not? This was also how Matthew’s report concluded this same Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question (Matthew 19:30). Distributing to the necessities of the brethren is a serious matter. It is wisely connected to our being in Heaven with our Savior or otherwise.
So, are you one of the first who wants to remain first? If so lavish on the brethren; feed the sheep; meet with their needs. Do it more for our missionaries and the persecuted people who have hazarded their lives for the gospel. And you want to be first on that day even though you are just coming into the faith of the gospel? Do likewise. Lavish on God’s people and purpose. Invest where God is in dire need, and there is no better place than the mission fields and more especially the ‘swelling of Jordan’ among them, and no better people than the missionaries, serious brethren, the persecuted brethren and Jewry.
Let’s ensure we are in the hundredfold. Or, rather, may God’s work and brethren see us as part of the hundred fold. We should represent ourselves in such a way that they can rely on and relate with us accordingly. We must make our breasts and bosoms available. Our bowels of mercy must come alive. And it should be a lifestyle. At the beginning flesh may make it difficult, but it is only a matter of time before it becomes enjoyable and endearing. And it is only a matter of time before you see and know God in a different way and dimension! We must succor and strengthen many hands; and we must see to it that God uses us to drive His work: if we are living right and if we want to make it at last.
No matter our statuses: Rich or poor, let’s help the brethren. We can always help. Let’s lay treasure-store foundation in Heaven via our financial efforts in the mission fields etc and so hasten the coming of our Savior.
Let’s return to Bible; let’s be sons of consolation. Dare to be a Barnabas! God shall not forget the labors of our love, but shall reward them now and, much more, in the glorious eternity. If we remain pure and we do this we shall lay hold on eternal life. Let us sacrificially be channels of blessing!
Let’s lay a good foundation for ourselves in Heaven. Let’s lay our treasures there: and let our hearts, consequently, be attached to Heaven. So that we can lay hold on Eternal life! Let all that are born again and endeavoring to live right also endeavor to be among this Jesus’ ‘Hundredfold’! What a glorious way for the first remaining first and the last being first!
“Is thy cruse of comfort failing?” Elizabeth Charles once asked. We may hear this beautiful hymn of hers thoroughly:
1. Is thy cruse of comfort failing?
Rise and share it with another,
And thro' all the years of famine
It shall serve thee and thy brother;
Love divine will fill thy store-house,
Or thy handful still renew;
Scanty fare for one will often
Make a royal feast for two.
2. For the heart grows rich in giving;
All its wealth is living grain;
Seeds which mildew in the garner,
Scattered, fill with gold the plain.
Is thy burden hard and heavy?
Do thy steps drag wearily?
Help to bear thy brother's burden,
God will bear both it and thee.
3. Numb and weary on the mountain,
Wouldst thou sleep amidst the snow?
Chafe that frozen form beside thee,
And together both shall glow.
Art thou stricken in life's battle?
Many wounded round thee moan;
Lavish on their wounds thy balsams,
And that balm shall heal thine own.
4. Is the heart a well left empty?
None but God its void can fill;
Nothing but a ceaseless Fountain
Can its ceaseless longings still.
Is the heart a living power?
Self-entwined, its strength sinks low;
It can only live in loving,
And by serving love will grow.
Igho writes from Warri
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