It’s the unusual messages of life that we remember. The typical ones we hear and forget. But an unusual message gives new insight. Our thinking moves in a new direction.
To pick up your cross is to pick up the instrument of your own death.
That was the unusual message I received at Johnson University Commencement on Saturday. Dr. Kenneth L. Mahanes’s topic was “Safety Last”–another unusual way of saying, “Follow God wherever He leads, even into the face of danger.
Of course, such a life journey begins with picking up a cross. And doing so isn’t a tweaking of priorities or a shifting of obligations. That’s the old way of thinking about taking up a cross. The new way is different. And the difference is revolutionary.
To carry a cross is more than bearing a common life burden. More than dealing with that person who irritates your every nerve. More than enduring a time of financial leanness or the flu or challenging deadlines at work.
It is death to self.
It’s also right worship.
Mahanes pointed out that many American Christians worship a new trinity today–the trinity of comfort, pleasure, and success–the fruit of the prosperity gospel.
Consider the foundational aspects of decisions we make. What we do with our time. Where we live. How many children we have. How we raise them.
And how we convey to them the meaning of our faith–the meaning of carrying a cross.
Are we looking for God’s will or are we looking to maximize the comfort of our lifestyle?
The real Gospel calls us beyond our comfort.
It calls us to the example of the early Church ministering to the victims of the Plague. Picking up the cross of love for neighbor over love of self.
And Mahane’s closing line:
“Leave this place today and go risk your life.”
Carry the instrument of death wherever He leads.
A new way of thinking for me. An old way of living for the Church.
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