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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 8:34–37  

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? (NRSV)

This passage always gets me thinking more existentially than perhaps I should. How can I take up the cross and deny myself like Jesus? Should I be walking around in sackcloth and sandals and preaching the gospel? I have learned to accept that many are called to serve in their own unique way. Some are called as pastors, trustees, deacons, church administrators, or myriad different ways. So I choose not to focus on the means by which we serve. The important thing is to find a manner with which to serve and be a disciple. However, I think it is important for us all to appreciate that despite the different methods of serving the church, service requires sacrifice.

Sacrifice may mean losing time for other activities. Sacrifice may mean lending emotional, physical, or mental support even when we feel weak. Sacrifice may require financially supporting causes even when we feel as though we have nothing to give. These service opportunities aren’t easy, can be overwhelming, and, if we are honest, can make us resent the task in the first place. Nonetheless, please remember that you aren’t alone and your Christian family is here to share in your struggles as well as your triumphs.

Lord, please help me find a way to take up the cross to the best of my ability and help me appreciate the sacrifices to be made. When this cross becomes too heavy to bear, help me recognize when my strength is failing and seek out the comfort and support of my family and friends. Amen

Written by Cornell Wilson III, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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