It has often been said that you only travel in order to arrive.
The journey might be interesting but the destination is everything.
You can put up with crowded terminals, cramped economy seats, and plastic airline food, because you are going to a great destination.
Now I’m not suggesting that following Jesus is just problem after problem. Sure, it has those moments when commitment to follow him seems tough; there are folk who throw in the towel at some point.
This week focus your thinking on the destination, not just the journey.
Paul puts it this way in Romans 8:
‘Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.’
v 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
A couple of weeks ago (2nd March), I wrote about my mother and how she came to faith later in her life. It was as a result of her attending the service when my son was baptised as a teenager in 1981. She asked to be baptised there and then – but the baptistery plug had already been pulled out and she had to wait a few weeks for another opportunity! At that point she was 72 years old; not too late to begin the Christian life and follow Jesus.
In fact, it’s never too late to step out in faith as this thief found as he was dying on a cross next to Jesus. If ever there was a death-bed conversion here it is. In the very agonies of crucifixion he caught a glimpse of who Jesus was and was promised eternal security in God’s presence.
Jesus did not give up on this thief – any more than he gave up on my mother in her old age. There is no criminal too vile, no older person too ancient, no dementia sufferer too far gone, and no young person with disabilities too dire to be beyond the reach of grace. That’s why we persevere in praying for such needy people.
Don’t give up on praying for that person who seems beyond ever deciding to follow Jesus. God seems to specialise in hard cases. Be surprised by his grace!