Most people indulge themselves in moments of wishful thinking, in which they wish for better circumstances. The father, who works all day for his family and comes home to a list of “honey dos”, sometimes grumbles. Wives sometimes complain about the enormity of their work and the pittance of support they receive from their families. Sometimes children complain about their chores and wish they could live without them. While there are those who complain, there are others who don’t seem to complain about the difficulties associated with their roles in life, because they expect them.
Every endeavor has its advantages, however; it also has its peculiar irritations and disadvantages. Consider this portion of story I read once of a country mouse that wanted to become a fat rat in the city…so it is in life. We have many advantages, but there are some disadvantages as well. We must be aware of them and work daily to stay away from the traps.
Sometimes we as believers complain about our difficulties, but some of our difficulties we should expect. There are times when we complain of being talked about, persecuted, and falsely accused. These destructive conversations come with the territory.
Every football player expects to get hit. Every plumber expects some bad conditions. Every coach who loses expects to be fired. Doctors run 24-hour shifts. Every golfer expects a few rough greens and sand traps. Every person that works in the kitchen expects it to get hot. It all comes with the territory.
As believers, we anticipate the joys of heaven. The kingdom has its merits, but not without its price. When satan cause difficulties to form in our lives we should not grumble to God, but resolve not to be discouraged, because if there is no cross there is no crown.
In this text, we find Jesus dealing with the nature of the Christian Experience with respect to struggle and reward. His words come on the heel of His presentation to believers about the nature of their relationship to Him. In verses 1-8 He describes that relationship as similar to a branch and a vine. In this illustration believers are portrayed as branches of the vine, which is in Christ. Each believer is an extension of the vine, being fed and sustained by the vine. It also means that one is fully controlled by the vine. A believer in such a relationship loses his own will and submits to the will of the vine. Since each of us is a branch of the vine, His will becomes our will. If at some point, we are not willing to abide in Him and we go our own direction, for whatever reason, then the branch is cut off.
In the next eight verses 9 to 17, Jesus says the key component for every Believer is to love God and your neighbor as you love yourself. He points out in verse 14 that those who love him will be willing to do whatever He tells them to do. Those who love Him are willing to allow themselves to become instruments for His service, willing to do anything, say anything, or go anyplace for the furtherance of the kingdom.
Those who have lost themselves in the will of God, such as a branch and vine and set out to do whatever God commands can expect difficulties from the world. Jesus said if you meet resistance in your pursuit to live the life of the believer fully don’t be alarmed. He met the same resistance. If people hate you, don’t be overly upset, they hated Jesus as well. If they talk about you, don’t be overly concerned; they talked about Jesus as well. Listen to His words in verse 18. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”
The essence of Christ teachings was that believers should not expect smooth sailing as they sail the sea of Christian life. They should expect a few storms, because storms come with sailing. They come with the territory.
Today there are many people who are troubled by life’s difficulties, and question God as to why life seems to be so hard. As Believers, we have chosen a difficult path that will often be misunderstood by others. Therefore we should not expect to win a popularity contest when we stand for that which is right.
The territory is the kingdom of God, which we are trying to help build and expand among those who do not see or understand the nature of our effort. Sometimes we can be injured emotionally by the way people respond to us or by the way we are treated. We are reminded today not to be easily injured, but to understand that such treatment is expected, because it comes with the territory.
Have you tried to help someone only to discover the person you helped the most was first among those who criticized and talked about? It is extremely frustrating when you have spent great sums of money and time to resolve a problem for a person only to watch them bring you down. Don’t be discouraged; many that Jesus helped were perhaps among the crowd that called for his crucifixion. While it is sometimes discomforting to continue helping others, remember that sometimes when the mouth being fed, bites the hand that feeds, it comes with the territory.
Jesus urges us to do what He has commanded us to do in the spirit of love as our motivation recognizing and expecting resistance. It comes with the territory, love anyway.
When Jesus prepared His disciples for their mission He warned them not to be discouraged but to go forward despite the hardships they would meet.
The difficulties He seemed to say then and today come with the territory.
Preachers, frustrated by the disinterested masses that would rather watch a ball game than listen to the word, don’t be surprised, preach anyway! It comes with the territory!
Choir directors struggling with complaining singers who don’t want to rehearse, don’t be surprised, direct anyway, it comes with the territory!
Auxiliary leaders, don’t be surprised if some in your auxiliary are more interested in criticizing than serving, serve anyway, it comes with the territory.
Expect a little rainfall and every so often a storm, but behind every cloudy day a sunbeam is born. There might be a little frustration along the way, but it comes with the territory.
If all that comes with the territory is an endless litany of frustrations, disappointments, and persecutions, then one might conclude that this journey is not worthwhile. If all that came was doom and gloom, storm clouds and strong winds, then working in the kingdom would be a useless venture. There’s something else that come with the territory!
· A beautician stands on her feet all day. She endures aching feet and legs, and strains her back, because when it is all over she’s going to be paid. Both aching feet and her fee come with the territory!
· The trash collector deals with bad smelling odors and unsanitary conditions everyday because it comes with the territory! He knows that payday is coming after while!
· The plumber may crawl around in the mud and slime repairing leaking pipes or sewerage lines, he doesn’t complain because it comes with the territory. He knows that payday is coming after while.
Brothers and sisters don’t be discouraged with the frustrations of Christian service they come with the territory.
- you may try to love, but all you get is hate; it comes with the territory
- You may promote progress, but others want to regress and dwell on the past; it comes with the territory
- You may try to build up, while others try to tear down, it comes with the territory
- You may try to bring peace, while others bring about confusion; it comes with the territory
But there is something else that comes with the territory:
- Revelation 2:7 “…to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life.” It comes with the territory
- Rev. 2:11, tells us, he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. It comes with the territory
- Rev. 2:26 says, And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. It comes with the territory!
- Rev. 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels. It comes with the territory!
- Rev. 21:7 says, He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. It comes with the territory!
There can be no crown without a cross. That’s why Jesus said “never the less, not my will but thy will be done” because it comes with the territory!
Well Jesus they’re crying “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” that’s all right it comes with the territory!
They put a crown of thorns on His head, that’s all right it comes with the territory!
He died out on Calvary, but early Sunday morning! He rose from the grave with all power in His hands!
All power in His hands!