A Word from Pastor Stephen – April 3, 2020
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Mark 8:34-36 NRSV)
All of you probably have a prized possession. Something you highly value and admire. If your house was on fire and you only had time to grab one thing it would be this one item.
Do you remember in 2017 when a painting by Leonardo da Vinci was sold at auction for $450.3 million dollars? The painting only measures 2′ 2″ x 1′ 6″. I’m sure whoever bought that painting would be grabbing it in a fire.
If you believe Jesus, your most prized possession is your soul. It’s worth more than the whole world. Your soul is infinitely more precious and valuable than anything this world has to offer. It will last when the sun, moon, and stars have all gone dark. Your soul will exist when the entire universe is gone and replaced by a new heaven and a new earth. It’s worth more than a painting by Leonardo da Vinci. It is worth more that all the gold and silver in the world.
And yet we can sell our souls for so much less. We can lay aside our walk with Jesus to pursue money, career success, fame, influence or another person. Never forget that Judas sold his soul for a mere 30 pieces of silver.
Are you willing to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Jesus? A disciple is someone who holds fast to the teachings of his master. He or she makes those teachings their only measurement for how they live and conduct themselves.
Being a disciple is a lifelong commitment to grow and learn and mature. We are people that should spend our lives being an apprentice to our Master. What we are doing is building an unshakable foundation on Jesus. So when the bad days come or when tragedy strikes or when your life unravels you can be steady and unafraid. You are not unhinged. You are not unmoored. You don’t fall apart. You can continue to offer Christ and yourself to others.
Take up your cross and follow. Amen.