Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
Then he said to them all:
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”
Luke 9:23-25 (NIV)
I can’t seem to get over doing it. Maybe that’s a good thing, because it keeps me thinking and reaching out to do something.
It happens more often on cold nights when I know that families of adults and children probably don’t have the money to turn on the heat in their homes, if they have homes at all.
And it happens every time I go into the refrigerator at night in our home to get a glass of milk or juice—their faces come to mind. Those souls not too far from me, and elsewhere in our community, who can’t do that. It would be pointless because there’s nothing in there to get once the door is opened.
Those souls whose home is freezing, or they’re looking for a place to get in from out of the freezing cold night air. They all come to mind, when I look to get something for myself.
It often keeps me from going there. Their faces haunt me to do something. My preference and approach, as those who know me won’t be surprised with, is to help them all, but at least one, and then another. And so on.
But enough of that, the morning has arrived and Easter will be coming soon.
And on the way to Easter, we’re in the middle of the season recognized by the Christian church as the season of Lent, a season of preparation and reflection, heading toward Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday, that glorious day where we celebrate again the Resurrection of Christ.
We’ll color a few Easter eggs, have Easter egg hunts for the little ones, talk about what the Easter bunny left in our Easter baskets, put on our finest Easter attire, and enjoy Easter dinner with family and friends. And someone will talk about the Risen Christ, as once again, on that Sunday, I suspect that more people will attend Easter sunrise services and other Christian services around the world than at any other time during the year.
Christ the Lord is Risen!
And on the way toward Easter we’ll pass right through Good Friday again. The day that Christ hung on the cross for those way back then, and for you and for me today—His day of ultimate sacrifice for you, for me, for everyone. He was pointing toward that cross, with His words in the scripture above as he was speaking to his disciples.
It wasn’t a pleasant thing for His disciples to hear—especially the part about taking up their own cross if they wanted to follow Him—taking the same road of sacrifice and personal denial that He was on.
They wanted to follow Him, but they had hoped He would establish His kingdom there and stay a while and rule, and they would be given places of honor and comfort with lots of perks. But He was persistently annoying and kept pointing them to the cross and talking about sacrifice and things like “gaining the world but losing your soul.”
It’s not what they had hoped for.
Sacrifice for them—which they would ultimately find out for their loyalty to Him and His calling on their lives—would mean death. For us today, well, maybe not death too often, but it may in fact mean denial of self, turning from the things of the world, and maybe even denying ourselves things and stuff.
Stuff like that glass of milk or juice? And sacrifice that might even mean reaching out to those without—without stuff, and without Him?
But only if we would want to follow Him, and take up our cross daily. And only if we want to save our life.
On the road to the cross that Christ took.
And only if we choose to follow Him.
Christ the Lord is Risen!
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2017. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.