But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
He had led a quiet but satisfying life in that small village. He was a local businessman who thrived in the community for his reputation of kindness and fairness. It was during a run for supplies several towns away that he encountered a man who would introduce him to Jesus Christ. This was something new for him and foreign to his village, so he kept his study of scripture to himself. In time, however, word would reach another villager of his connection to that Christian man. All of a sudden his business began to slow. People in town who used to speak to him in passing or greet him on the street became distant. The whispers eventually reached him, and he began to wonder whether this new faith of his was worth the loss it was beginning to cause.
There is nothing anyone can take from us in this world as a result of our faith which cannot be replaced by God tenfold or a hundredfold in the age to come. God rewards those who are faithful. We must remember that our vision in this world is limited because this system of things is limited. If our faith causes us to lose our good reputation among men it is okay because of the reputation we gain with God. If our faith causes us to lose our financial resources it is okay because of the riches we gain with God. The same goes for family, friends, freedom and peace. All of these things may be forfeited in this life simply because we follow Jesus Christ, but that is okay. God rewards those who are faithful in the face of great loss by granting the promise of immeasurable gain.
I try to see everything in the context of the eternal promises which God has made to his children. When I think of who God is and what we gain in him not only in the future but right now, I am comforted to know that I already have everything I ever could need or want in him. All of the riches which are found in him are infinitely greater than what they replace. Belonging to God alone is enough because it grants us eternity even if we go through this short life with nothing by the world’s standards. What matters is our understanding of what is truly valuable and fruitful. Father, give us peace and joy when we suffer loss for your sake, knowing that your reward is unquestionably greater.