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Good Morning, Young Man
Photo: Judi Seiber
“Good morning, young man.” It was Richard. He usually called early on Sunday morning. His voice was slurred. He’d been drinking. Richard was a Vietnam Vet. He had been in 11 treatment programs over the years to get control of his drinking, but he hadn’t. He’d been in jail many times, had DUI’s, wrecked vehicles, and had been accused of sexual harassment, all because of alcohol.

But, Richard loved Jesus. He usually got tears in his eyes when he talked about his Lord.

This morning was no different. I have to admit I was frustrated to get the call…again. I was trying to be polite as Richard talked about sending out his Christmas cards. He wanted to know if I got mine and if I liked it. I said I did.

I was looking for a way to end the conversation when Richard asked a question that took my by surprise. All of a sudden I realized that he was closer to the Lord at that moment, intoxicated, than I was sober.

He asked if I knew who it was who carried the cross for Jesus. I played along and asked him who. He knew the name perfectly. It was Simon of Cyrene.

You Are Carrying That Cross

Then he zeroed in for the point. He said that the cross must have been very heavy for Jesus. He needed someone to carry the cross with Him. He told me that I was carrying that cross today. 

His comment hit me hard. I was touched in a way that no sermon could have done. And, Richard, my intoxicated, native-American friend had done it.

The Holy Spirit reminded me that Jesus said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

I’d always thought that picking up my cross was about dealing with the struggles of life that Christians face. The Christian life is hard…just ask any Christian walking the walk. 

But maybe, just maybe, picking up the cross is helping Jesus to carry the load. His load. He does tell us to yoke up with Him. Remember? "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

Perhaps the rest for our souls is when we put down our cross and pick up His. He has all the responsibility. We just get to join Him in His work. That is refreshing! We can let go of all we are trying to carry and trust that Jesus will take care of it for us.

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By Chad McComas. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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