I saw the strangest, most beautiful sight the other day. While driving down a back road between Napa and Sonoma, I witnessed a reminder of the most profound sacrifice: a man literally carrying his cross. Though I'm sure Jesus did not have the advantage of attaching his to a red wagon, the intention was still obvious. His act was unprovoked and uninterrupted, yet I hope I was not the only one in whom it sparked contemplation. A simple symbol of something we so often make complicated: sacrifice.
In discussing sacrifice, the topic of Jesus' crcifixion is unavoidable. I cannot even begin to fathom the immense pain he suffered in carrying the sin of the world and, ultimately, separation from his father, from love. It is easy to only focus on his sacrifice in death. But what about his sacrifice in LIFE?
It's not going to be easy. He warned us - straight forward. And he wasn't kidding! Jesus led by serving, so why do we think we can be good leaders any othe way? Sacrifice is the heart that enables service.
Take up your cross - literally if that's what it takes. You'll find that it doesn't get lighter or easier to carry, but he makes you stronger. You'll find that when it seems like your personal struggle is being put on display, he will use it to free others and yourself. An certainly, you will find that he I with you every step of the way.