“’Truly I tell you,’ Jesus said to them, ‘no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.'”  (Luke 18: 29-20, NIV)

While some may classify these words of Jesus as a “hard saying”; in reality these words are some of the most gracious in all of the bible.

There is a worthy tale that illustrates what Jesus is saying: A rich man had a son who painted a self-portrait.  Though no one would ever mistake the painting as the work of a skilled artist, the father treasured this painting above all else, because the son — who was his sole heir — had been killed in war and the painting was a reminder of his beloved son.

In his will, the rich man required that the painting be sold at auction with all of his other possessions.  On the day of the auction, estate agents and bargain hunters from far and wide converged at the rich man’s estate for the sale.  The first item up for bid was the son’s self-portrait.  The crowd grumbled.  They had not traveled to the sale to bid on the work of a third-rate artist.  They were there there to buy houses, land, livestock, and fine furniture!

At first, no one wanted to bid on the painting, but the auctioneer made it clear that in accordance with the rich man’s will, the painting must be sold ahead of all other property.  So, to move along the process, one person made a small bid for the portrait.  Hearing no other bids, the auctioneer  said, “Sold!” to the lone bidder, then added, “You’ve just purchased the entire estate: Houses, land, livestock, and fine furniture.  The lot is yours.”

The crowd was stunned.

The executor of the rich man’s estate appeared at the podium to address the unhappy gathering of would-be buyers, and said, “In accordance with the desires of the father, the person who gets the son, gets it all.”

We can make our lives “a la carte” and risk missing the One; or we can take the One above all others and ahead of all else — and having gotten the Son, get it all.  As Jesus taught us: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all of these [other] things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)  – Luther

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“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'”  (John 6:35, NIV)

Whether in the physical sphere — or in the spiritual sphere — hunger and thirst are normal.  We feel the pangs of hunger and the dryness of thirst in reaction to need.

The challenge for all of humanity is to properly satisfy this need — whether physical or spiritual.

Only Jesus permanently satisfies the hunger of the human spirit.  Only Jesus permanently satisfies the thirst of the human soul.  The other things and people we rely on to meet our spiritual needs are only temporary and a diversion when time is critically short.

As disciples of Jesus, we must guard against the temptation to consider anything other than God’s provision to satisfy any spiritual need.  God has given us His only begotten Son — Jesus.  He is the bread of life.  He is the living water.  – Luther

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