Two men are playing a game.
Early on in the game, one of the men accumulates a lot of points. He’s thrilled with the developments but he tries to keep his excitement to himself. The other man remains silent.
As the game progresses, the man with all of the points keeps earning more points for himself. But now it’s harder for him to contain his excitement. His smile gets bigger. He pumps his fist in the air. He never imagined that victory would be so easy. The other man remains silent. His focus is steady. His face is expressionless.
By the end of the game, the score has gotten worse and the man with all of the points is celebrating with even more enthusiasm than before. At the end of the game, not only did he have the most points, he had nearly ten times as many points as his opponent. He was glowing.
But there was one thing that was bothering him.
Why was his opponent, the man who remained silent and expressionless as the game’s point differential grew larger and larger, suddenly smiling now that the game was over?
So he had to ask.
“Why are you so happy now? You barely said a word for the entire game. You barely even smiled the whole time that we played. Now that we’re done and I have ten times as many points as you do, you’re happy. Why? I’m the one who’s supposed to be happy. I’m the one who had the most points.”
The man who had spent the whole game celebrating was now perturbed.
He wanted an answer.
But he didn’t want the answer that he got.
“I know that you had the most points. But that’s not how you win this game.”
And the man picked up his golf clubs and walked away.
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:29-31 (ESV)