Every kid wants a golden ticket, none of us want a cross.
Remember Charlie and the Chocolate factory?
Poor kid finds the last golden ticket and leaps out of poverty into unfathomable riches after becoming the last kid to remain on the crazy visit to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
How to short change your kids
Sometimes, I think we present the good news about Jesus to kids a bit like this.
Believe in Jesus and you’ll have eternal life. True right?
A golden ticket to heaven and everlasting life.
But we make no mention of the gap, called ‘your life until then’ and what shape that will have.
We don’t mean to harm our kids.
We certainly don’t intend to deceive.
We don’t want to worry them.
But perhaps we’re kidding ourselves too?
If we were into ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’ we just might be tempted to leave it that way. Just sell the ‘good bits’ and hide the ‘bad’.
Some churches do just that.
Look at what Jesus can do for you…the good life, the good wife, the good business, house…oh and did I mention, the icing on the cake…everlasting life.
Jesus doesn’t sugar coat it…
Jesus makes no such omissions.
Check it out, from Luke’s gospel
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” Luke 9:23
This was straight after warning his disciples that he was heading to Jerusalem to be betrayed, beaten, killed and three days later, rise. And his warning came straight after the disciples lauded him as ‘THE Christ’, the biggest success story ever!
The Christians ‘gap’ year
Our ‘gap year’ between becoming a Christian and experiencing the eternal life is described as ‘cross bearing’. Rejection. Failure. Opposition.
So how are we bearing it?
Are we expecting it to be heavy? Are we expecting it to be there at all…the cross, now in our gap year before heaven arrives?
We may not like the sound of it. But it helps a lot if we can be aware of it, no, accept it…expect it.
Still bangin’ on about rejection, Stephen!??
Last blog post I told you I was on the hunt for more rejection!
And I gave us all good reasons to get used to it, not just the creative ones but parents, homeschoolers and ministry leaders.
We need to see it as part of our journey forward.
Christ, he gives it to us even straighter…you wanna be like me…you wanna be Christian
Then see this big heavy wooden thing I’m dragging…there’s one over there for you.
That’s when we realise, ‘I should expect opposition’
I should expect it to be tough to do things differently, Christianly.
If I parent so my kids don’t just go with the flow…I’m bearing a cross and it will weigh something!
If I try and tackle new opportunities in ministry or just keep persevering with people who don’t seem to be listening…then that’s the cross, the shameful, you’re a loser, why don’t you give up…it’s never going to grow…cross you bear.
That’s the rejection, the failure that we should welcome. Let it come.
Not in a vainglorious way. Not in a masochistic way. It would be great if we didn’t have to bear the cross. But Christ had to, for good reason and we’re not yet ‘bodily’ with him, so there’s no escaping it.
It’s not easy, or nice. It sucks actually.
But remember…after 3 days its all going to get a whole lot better.
You won’t earn your eternal life or ticket to heaven doing it.
But it will declare your faith in Jesus who paid the way for you to be welcomed there.
So, it’s 2019 and this is my third ‘new year’s resolution’ post for you…I think I’m ready to move forward and get stuck in…following the Lord, bearing my cross. Well, at least getting on with life, knowing it is a cross bearing one, right.
How about you?
What’s your cross?
And…are you ready to bear it?
We need each other…so let’s not carry it alone…that’s why we have the church.
We get to carry each other.
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Image: Naomi tamar on unsplash