And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27, KJV)
Imagine you are applying for a job. You’ve gotten through the interview process and are now negotiating your contract. Everything you’ve heard about this new job sounds really great: nice benefits, a lot of travelling, meeting new people. Better than fishing or farming and your new boss has such a dynamic personality. People are flocking to him, to hear what he has to say and see the wonderful things he can do. You would be a fool to walk away from this job.
Then your new boss gives you the final caveat: if you take this job there is a good chance people will persecute you, shun you, and maybe even want to kill you, but after all that the greatest benefit of all kicks in: you get to be with your boss for eternity.
How many of us would walk away from that job? Now for the harder question: how many of us are currently in a job like that and yet back away when things get a little tough, or let someone else take care of the messy stuff, making us only half an employee? And yet we still expect all the reward at the end.
Most of us here already have this job or like to think we do. We have agreed to take up Christ’s cross and follow Him. But how many of us know what that truly entails?
Recently, I saw an article in a newspaper. An eight-year-old boy in second grade drew a picture of Jesus hanging on a cross in response to an assignment given by his teacher to draw the thing that they most remembered from a recent field trip to a Christian site. The boy was suspended from school and was told he couldn’t come back until he had a psychiatric evaluation, because they felt his drawing showed a tendency toward violence.
This boy and his father are examples of carrying the cross. First, the boy didn’t draw a picture of a pile of presents or any of the other symbols for Christmas; instead he drew a picture of Jesus on the cross, our most important Christian symbol. When all the other kids were drawing the presents he was remembering what the season was all about and honoring God. When the persecution started, by means of a suspension and psychiatric evaluation, the boy could do little, but his father then picked up the ball in defense of his son and their faith in God.
They bore their crosses like Jesus expects us all to do. They didn’t complain or leave someone else clean up the mess, or hope it would go away. They remained true to their faith.
Like Jesus and like this boy and his father, we must be ready to face and accept the rejection, to experience the humiliation and shame, toil and suffering. God should be our number one priority.
The Israelites didn’t get it; the religious officials of the Jewish people had trouble with it. Maybe it is time we Christians take the message to heart; maybe we should try to get it. God is waiting and I think it is time for a new revolution in the world. Time for Christians to stand up to those that chose not to believe. Time for our voices to be heard and the message absorbed and put into practice.
We will face reproach, temptation, suffering loneliness and for some even death, but the reward we will receive will make it all worth it. For God is our reward.
Copyright © 2013, Christina Weigand