Anything But Simple

But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favors so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked.

Luke 6:35 AMP

Did you catch that? There is almost nothing simple about the reward attached to these commands. Oh sure, it’s quite simple to decode those words and to understand with even a basic reading comprehension. My second graders would have handled that verse quite nicely. “I love the bad people and I get a nice reward. Hey, that’s great!”

But to truly grasp the depth of meaning here and the lavishness poured out on those who obey — now that’s staggering.

I shouldn’t even need a reward for following Jesus’ example of mercy. After all, He loved His enemies who hurt Him to an extent that none of us will ever experience. After everything He’s done for me (while I was/am “ungrateful and selfish and wicked”), I should be following Him with an intensity that doesn’t even expect any kickback.

But He’s promised it, a “rich, strong, intense, abundant” reward! Where is the simplicity in that?! And don’t stop there, because the second part is even more incomprehensible. “You will be sons of the Most High.”

Most of us have heard that concept from babyhood. “Jesus loves me. I am God’s child.” But do we really get what it really means to be a son or daughter of God? (My brain blows a fuse right there.) Can we ever deserve such a gift? We have simply “done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10), have given our “reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).

So there. Jesus’ commands are actually quite simple. (No master’s degree needed to follow Him.) To live them out gets, well, not quite so simple. But the rewards He promises? Now those are just anything but simple!

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