Imagine the following advertisement:
NEW! The perfect gift for the stylish disciple on your list! Had enough of those bulky, clumsy wooden crosses? Why should carrying your cross be burdensome? Well, say goodbye to the sore back, the painful splinters, the aching shoulders! Our new lightweight cross is made from aerospace-grade aluminum, and features a comfort-grip carrying handle. You’ll forget you’re even carrying it! It also folds to the size of a matchbook, and comes with a handsome black nylon case, so that you can conceal it discreetly when needed. Carrying your cross has never been easier!
Dimensions: 12″ x 6″ x 1.5″ (fully extended)
Meets TSA guidelines for carrying on domestic flights
Weight 0.2 lb
“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:38-39 (ESV)
As I read this, I wonder: Who are these “whoevers,” these putative disciples who do not take up their crosses? What sort of person is it that would claim to be “worthy” of Him, yet neglect to pick up their cross and follow? What do these ‘disciples’ look like? They take no risks. They choose not to venture beyond their self-defined circle of comfort. They deny themselves nothing (Luke 9:23, Matthew 16:24). They wish to change nothing about their lives – because they have “found” their lives, they have established their places in this present world and have no real longing for another one. They love their lives and expend their effort in augmenting and perfecting them (John 12:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24).
They have opted for the aluminum cross. A cross that demands nothing. A cross whose effect on this earthly life is as minimal as possible.
Am I this person, this risk-averse, unbelieving disciple? What steps have I taken solely in obedience to following the way of the cross? Am I still shopping around for a lightweight, convenient, aluminum cross, while the seconds and days and years slip by? How presumptuous! Perhaps the time for excusing myself is past.