Sunday in church we had a great and challenging sermon on “What It Means to Confess Christ.” In Mark 8 believers are given the cost of discipleship, that of taking up their cross. Our Pastor pointed out that many things that we think are our crosses~hardships, a difficult person, an illness~ are not our crosses at all. Rather living a godly life in an ungodly world and enduring difficult things as a result is “the cross.” I loved the picture he gave, that Christ is tossing the ball to me, it is in my court and I must choose what to do with it~~~ To follow until I die, not knowing how or when? To follow, forfeiting my rights over my life? A Christ follower does not say, “I’ll follow you Jesus, but don’t give me any restrictions or responsibility.” It is doing things for the sake of the gospel and living that way until death, whether martyred or just living out the days God has given.
I was challenged with the example of “holding the ball.” So many times I choose my “flesh-woman.” Our Pastor said this also…”Satan wants me to be convinced that there is no value to dying to self or to being a servant.
I was also encouraged. I thought of Wally’s Dad. Saturday was the second anniversary of his life here on earth coming to an end. There was a death. But there was great value in that death. While we are still adjusting to life with out Pop, he has been living in the presence of Jesus. I also thought that there was great value in the example he left. He took the ball when it was passed to him. He lived a life of faithfully serving the Lord until he died, not knowing how long he had nor how he would die. He took up the cross and followed! I am thankful for that. And on this second anniversary, I found it to be comforting to me.
My Mom used to have a plaque over our Kitchen doorway with this poem…it sums up Pop’s life and I hope my own.
“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last”