my journey – part 32

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

There was a man who wanted to take up his cross. So he began his search for a cross that would be worthy to carry for his Savior.

He found one that was large and lifelike. It was made of wood – rough wood – unpolished and un-sanded. It was an exact replica of the one Jesus carried – right down to the last splinter. And he looked at it and stood before it in wonder.

But then he considered what it would require to carry that cross. He considered the pain, the splinters, the weight, the ridicule of his friends, and he decided he would find another, not so real cross to carry.

He found one that was smaller and more easily carry-able. It also was made of wood, but of a more polished sort. The cross was large enough to be noticed, but small enough that it could be taken more places unobtrusively. And it was beautiful, like a piece of art. Long he gazed at it and admired its beauty and form.

But then he considered what it would require to carry that cross. It was still large enough to be inconvenient at times, and while it was a thing of beauty, things of beauty often invited questions, and questions were definitely not what he was going for. So he decided he would find another, not so beautiful cross to carry.

He found one that was smaller still, and made out of silver. It also was beautiful, but of a more subtle sort. It was small enough that he could take it and wear it on a chain around his necklace – small enough to be taken anywhere at any time.

He considered what it would require to carry that cross. It was small and light and convenient – qualities that he definitely appreciated. It didn’t require too much of himself, and wasn’t too much of a burden. When he needed to have a token to show everyone that he was a follower of Christ, the small silver cross would suffice, but if there happened to be the occasion – as there all too often was – where his friends were making fun of the people who carried the big, wooden crosses, he could simply drop it inside his shirt and pretend that he didn’t carry a cross.

Realizing that this was the kind of cross that he needed – one that was functional, unobtrusive and altogether practical, he immediately set about to wear it each and every day.

His cross became his new companion, and he would wear it – almost every day – with him wherever he went. Some days he would just forget to put it on, but it wasn’t a terribly serious issue. After all, the cross didn’t interfere with his life, so a day or two missed wasn’t a big deal.

It was a great conversation starter. Some days the man would see another Christian carrying one of the big, real, heavy, splintery crosses. He would go and talk to them and admire their crosses. He would ask how they could possibly bear to carry such a thing around with them their whole lives. It would always puzzle him when they would smile at his silver cross and ask him the same question.

Finally the day came when the man died.

He came before
Jesus – the man of the Cross, the God of the Cross,
who said,

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

“Here I am, Lord. Here is my cross. This one, right here, around the chain.”

And
Jesus – the man of the Cross, the God of the Cross,
looked at him and said,

“What Cross?”

An old AFC skit. Similar in the lines of sacrifice as the one before.

“I will not offer to my God that which costs me nothing.”

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