Over a week ago, I was reading in Matthew 25, 26, and 27 in preparation for Easter Sunday. I’ve heard the story of Christ’s crucifixion, burial, resurrection and all the surrounding events more times than I can count; this time though, something stood out to me that I had never thought about before. When I read about the last supper, when Christ states that one of his 12 disciples would betray Him, I had the following thought dawn on me:
Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, long before Judas ever knew himself; and yet, for 3 years, Jesus still invested into Judas along with His other disciples. He still loved Judas, invested time into, and imparted wisdom to him, despite knowing that eventually it would be at Judas’s hands that He would be betrayed, and shortly after, Judas would hang himself. He knew it was part of God’s plan, and God’s will though, and so He still loved and invested into Judas.
Wow. Just think about that for a moment. Can you imagine investing and pouring that much into someone, knowing that the end would be that person betraying you, and eventually committing suicide? Can you imagine the sorrow that must have caused Jesus?
If I was in that same position, what would I do? What would you do?
I’ve personally experienced, instances where I’ve invested a lot of time and energy into someone, only to have them treat me unkindly. I’ve seen similar instances play out for my parents, as well as our family. Anyone who has also experienced that, will be able to relate to the fact that it can get discouraging after so many times of investing into people, only to have them disregard that investment and repay you with un-loving actions. After a while, the thought “is it worth it?” can very easily creep in a present itself.
This has gotten me to thinking at times, how can you know where to invest to minimize your exposure to such treatment?
We shouldn’t invest into people with the mindset of “what I will get in return” but I think that as people, we automatically tend to look at investment of any sort through the light of potential return. It’s human nature. In matters, of money, relationships, and time, we generally don’t want to invest somewhere that we know there won’t be a good return on our investment. Personally, I think it’s easy to invest into children or people less fortunate than oneself, knowing that the investment will be repaid by seeing God work in that person’s life through my investment. But it’s a totally different story to invest into someone that I know may actually return my love and my investment with ingratitude and/or rejection. Who wants to knowingly subject themselves to such a circumstance?? Certainly not I.
But God’s love goes above and beyond that. His love is perfect, His love forgives even when repaid with rejection and continues on despite that rejection. He initiated and invested into the WORLD by sending His only Son to bear our sin; knowing full well, that many wouldn’t appreciate that investment, and would continue to live in rebellion to Him. Jesus spent His entire public ministry investing into 12 men, 1 of which, He knew would ultimately betray Him and commit suicide, having had seemingly no lasting impact on the Kingdom that He was here teaching mankind about.
That is also the love we are called to have as followers of Christ. Without Christ, such love is impossible for humankind to exhibit, but, with God it is possible. This is the truth God has revealed to me through the story of Jesus and Judas: If we feel led by God to reach out to someone with love and invest in their life, we shouldn’t worry about how they will receive it and treat us. We are responsible to God for our actions; other people and their actions shouldn’t hinder us from doing what God has prompted us to do.
If Jesus still loved and invested into the man who would repay His investment with betrayal and suicide, then why should I get discouraged if someone repays my investment and my love, with rejection or unkindness? NO investment I make into others could ever come close to the investment that Jesus put into Judas or into humanity by taking on sin and death and defeating them both. And no rejection I face, could ever equal that of what Jesus experienced