One Hundred-fold Return
A long while back I had a housemate who was struggling to find a job. Part of the problem was that he didn’t have reliable transportation to even get to job interviews, let alone to a job.
I had both a car and a job. I figured I could get to work other ways. It might take more time and effort, but I could get to work. So, after some prayer, I decided to give my car to my housemate.
When I gave him my car, however, I also believed for a one hundred-fold return (from Mark 10:29-30) on what I gave. I would encounter others in need and I needed to have the resources available to help them too. I needed the hundred-fold return to have the resources to help more people.
The Gospel of Mark tells of a rich young ruler coming to Jesus and asking him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him that he lacked one thing and that he needed to go and sell all he had, give to the poor, and follow him.
One thing you lack: go thy way, sell whatsoever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:21-22)
Jesus explained to his disciples that it was difficult for those who trust in their possessions to enter into the kingdom of God. The disciples were amazed.
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Truly I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (Mark 10:28-30)
So I sought God to measure according to truth that I was giving for the sake of the gospel and God’s kingdom and that my giving qualified for the hundred-fold return. The scripture doesn’t say anything about cars!
- I was giving in love: giving to meet the needs of someone else.
- I was giving in faith: believing God would meet my needs and prosper me to meet the needs of still more people.
- While the scripture doesn’t mention cars specifically, it is talking about possessions, those things we particularly love, and those things or people we may trust in to sustain us. My car was one of my few possessions and was particularly important to me.
My giving and my gift qualified for the hundred-fold return.
Now my car wasn’t a great car. I had purchased it for $100. It wasn’t pretty, but it was reliable transportation. After working to overcome fear and doubt in giving my car (i.e. thoughts that I would be walking everywhere for the rest of my life), I gave it to my housemate. With the car he was able to find a job.
About a week after giving the car I received a $10,000 a year raise at work. This is remarkable in a number of ways. First of all, I didn’t ask for the raise. Second, I was working as a temporary employee for a temporary employment agency. Third, the way the raise was announced helped me recognize it as the hundred-fold return. It would have been much more difficult to recognize had it been announced in terms of dollars per hour, week, or month.
I would have missed the connection. The Spirit of God had to remind me of my gift and show me the connection between it and the raise: that $10,000 was one hundred times the $100 car I had given.
From this particular prayer I learned that the prayer for hundred-fold return works if the gift and giving qualifies. I also learned that the hundred-fold return may be spread out over time - like a year - and that it may not be recognizable without the Spirit of God revealing it.
This is a good example of our dependence on God to recognize and measure the our prayers:
- Do we meet the requirements?
- Have we taken the required steps?
- What is the answer to our prayer? Has it happened?