“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12
Here in Matthew, the word blessed is the Greek word “Makarios,” meaning “happy” or “fortunate, and often indicates someone who is favored by God.” How would being persecuted make a person fortunate or happy?
For many years, I worked in a place where it was tough to be a Christian. I did not go around proclaiming to be a Christian, but as we worked together my co-workers saw that my life was centered around serving the Lord and trying to live a Christ-like life. However, if I said or reacted to something in a negative way, there was one person in particular who was quick to remind me that I was “supposed” to be a Christian. He often gave me a hard time and called me names that were meant to be hurtful. Sometimes it felt pretty lonely to work there. For a while, my password at work was courage, because that was what I needed every day to go and do my job.
Those days were nothing when we look at the kind of persecution that the first Christians experienced. History tells us that almost all of Jesus’ twelve disciples were martyred. John was exiled to the isle of Patmos for preaching the Word of God. We read of Paul, who was beaten, stoned, and imprisoned multiple times for his faith. All through history, we find accounts of Christians who risked their lives and were persecuted for believing and telling others the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Though some days were challenging at that job, the Lord blessed my life and I grew in so many ways during those years. It was then when my husband got saved and we got connected in the church. I became involved and began to teach in women’s ministry, and at work, I developed wonderful friendships with my coworkers and industry peers. Prayer got me through, and the Lord was always with me. Even on the hard days, I was fortunate and happy to work in a position that gave me the chance to encourage and help others when they were often facing uncertainty in their lives.
There is an old hymn titled, “When We All Get To Heaven.” The chorus reminds me that one day all those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior will have their great reward and will be in Heaven with The Lord for all eternity. So, stand strong, fight the good fight; people all around us need to see Jesus.
When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we’ll sing and shout the victory!
“Rejoice in that day,
and leap for joy,
your reward is great in heaven.”