I like metaphors. Perhaps I’m a bit simple-minded, but I’ve encountered a few metaphors that seem to help me as I stumble my way along my path. One illustration that incorporates a lot of meaning in many circumstances is The Story of the Jar. I won’t repeat the story, but please click the link if you’re not familiar with this image.
I’m currently working my way through a small group study called Experiencing The Cross. As we began the study, we encountered a familiar call from scripture that reminded me of a central fact about the jar.
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? ” Luke 9: 23-25
What’s more important to me than eternal relationship with Christ? The correct answer is, “NOTHING!” But you wouldn’t know that by the way I fill my jar each day.
So frequently we become focused on “saving” our worldly lives that we fill our jars with meaningless sand. Time, energy, and attention are consumed with the urgent, essential tasks and concerns that come at us from all directions.
Then we hear Jesus say, “Take up you cross and follow me,” but there’s no room left in the jar. We ask Him to wait while we finish that important project at work or fulfill that pressing commitment to a friend or family member. Then He smiles patiently and gently reminds us that by filling the jar with sand, we’re saving our worldly lives but losing something much greater.
Fulfillment and meaning can’t be discovered in my 401k or the Super Bowl or a great job. Family, friends, commitments, and obligations fill the jar, but they crowd out the only true source of peace.
Jesus knows the path to a rich, rewarding life. As we scurry around in search of earthly satisfaction, He says simply, “I AM THE WAY.”
If I wish to follow Him and claim the identity for which I was created, I need to reserve space in my jar for the Cross.
Question: What does ”taking up your cross” mean for you on a daily basis ?