Haggai 1:7 ~ Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.
For many years I worked for the Magistrate Court of Calhoun County, West Virginia. You wouldn’t believe the Christians I ran in to in that setting. I say that somewhat facetious and somewhat serious. It was during those years that I got saved and people witnessed for the first time in me that faith mattered. I had a bible on my desk, I talked about Jesus… a lot. I still do; and because of that the people who came into my office, no matter which side of the law they were on had a tendency to turn to me for a prayer or encouragement. It was such a blessing to stand in a government building and have the freedom to pray. That blessing is at risk of extinction if our leadership has anything to do with it.
But yesterday as a young man stood in our teen church camp and preached the gospel with the wisdom of a much older man I was so blessed to see young people serving and responding to the Word of God. Just in passing he mentioned “cross examination,” and my thoughts did not turn to the courtroom, they turned to the cross of Christ and I wondered. How would I fare if I examined the cross in my life?
Is it the old rugged cross that matters most or the pretty shiny gold one? They both represent the blood our Savior shed for our redemption; but the difference in my mind is the gold one is worn around the neck as symbol of my royal state in the family of God because of what my Savior did for me. But the rugged, blood stained cross is to be carried on my back. It’s not pretty, it’s real and it’s the one that Jesus said to carry, He never mentioned the gold one. Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 16:24 “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
This week’s teen camp is around the curriculum “not a fan,” meaning completely committed follower. A fan wears the pretty gold cross, a follower picks up the rugged blood stained one. A fan would carry it through a parade as symbolic of their position in the church, but they wouldn’t carry it on the job. The gold one is looked upon with fond affection and often times may be worn as a status symbol because of the financial cost of the gold, the rugged blood stained cross bears the blood of the Savior which reminds us of the cost of our sin, and the fact that we couldn’t buy it. This teen retreat was as much for me as it is the youth. It’s a reminder that daily I need to examine the cross and what it means in my life. I don’t want to be just a fan. I want to pick up the cross and follow Him. When I get to the end of this journey and I stand before the God of all creation and I’m cross examined, I want to be found still carrying it. Amen.