Building the Church is the forge that brings out the best or the worst in people. Anyone who is involved in church work has felt the disappointment of fractured relationships or the pain of friendship that has turned sour because of a commitment to serving the Lord and His people. Maybe it has happened when you chose to support a leader when others were disenfranchised. Maybe someone has become offended and you refuse to take part in the bitterness that followed. Some times we feel loss when we just follow the Lord’s leading to a different place and relationships fade in time. It isn’t a much talked about part of the package of the disciple’s life, but it is a very real reality. Peter questioned Jesus on this very issue..
Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 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.
Following Christ will mean that some relationships will not continue. Jesus directs His followers to look at the bigger picture in faith. If we are honest we gain far more than we lose. When I look at the 30+ years of serving Jesus I have found a deep reservoir of peace and a strong sense of purpose. I have seen God bring so many quality people into my life. I have found that the deep relationships in my life are built on something deeper than the whims of superficial ‘what’s in it for me”. The committed followers of Christ understand what it means to lay down their life for one another. They know what it means to labor together for the expansion of the Kingdom. My deepest friendships that have endured for decades are those who have given their life to, and paid a price to see the Kingdom move forward. Many of them have experienced loss and yet are compelled to continue to have an open heart and an inclusive ethos. Why can they stay open? Because they know the story is ultimately not about them, but serving Christ and His purposes. They have settled the issue; they look to eternity ultimately choosing Christ above all.