23Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? 26If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. 27I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”
Am I selfish if I just don’t want that darn cross? It sounds like an either-or choice, and since this is God’s Word, we are stuck with that. And it is no small choice. It is choosing our life, or our cross and it appears that the ramifications of that choice are to be “lost or destroyed” or to save your life…by giving it away????
Perhaps it isn’t so bizarre and confusing as it first appears. When Jesus says “cross”, what does he mean? I can’t say for sure, but the cross was Jesus mission in life. It was why he came, why he lived, why he died, and why he rose again. It was the purpose for which he became a man like us. It was his life.
I believe each of us was created by God and given his life to fulfill a mission or purpose. A life lived with the purpose and mission God gave us is what happens when our life is married to God’s life. Does a bride or groom become less when they are married…or more? So I will run the great risk of restating what I heard Jesus say to me.
“Dan, if you insist on clutching to your ideas and hopes and dreams that are all about you, you will destroy yourself. But take the worldly life that is yours and give it to me and together we will live the life you were created for. My ideas and hopes and dreams are more grand than you could ever imagine. Your life by itself ends, along with everyone else’s, staring at that bloody cross. Your life and mine combined…leaves behind an empty tomb.”
Lord, I can say take my life, and I do say it, but send your Holy Spirit to give me the courage to give my life to you day in and day out.
You know that “sound” in your life you call the “daily grind”? That’s what rolling tomb rocks sound like.