“As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” — Galatians 6:14
It’s tough to live a focused life. From every direction, something or someone clamors for our attention. A distraction draws our eyes and the next thing we know, we’ve swerved off the road and headed down another detour.
One youth pastor came up with a clever way to keep his group on track. Concerned that the balmy beaches of Florida–the site of their upcoming evangelism trip– would lure the teens from their purpose, he fashioned a cross from two pieces of lumber. Just before they climbed on the bus, he showed it to the group.
“I want all of you to remember that the whole purpose of our going is to glorify the name of Christ, to lift up the Cross–the message of the Cross, the emphasis of the Cross, the Christ of the Cross,” he announced. “So we’re going to take this cross wherever we go.”
The teenagers looked at one another, a little unsure of his plan. But they agreed to do it and dragged the cross on the bus. It banged back and forth in the aisle all the way to Florida. It went with them into restaurants. It stayed overnight where they stayed overnight. It stood in the sand while they ministered on the beach.
At first, lugging the cross around embarrassed the kids. But later, it became a point of identification. That cross was a constant, silent reminder of who they were and why they had come. They eventually regarded carrying it as an honor and privilege.
The night before they went home, the youth leader handed out two nails to each of the kids. He told them that if they wanted to commit themselves to what the cross stood for, they could hammer one nail into it and keep the other with them. One by one, the teens drove their nail into the cross.
About fifteen years later, one fellow–now a stockbroker–called the youth leader. He told him that he still keeps that nail with him in his desk drawer. Whenever he loses his sense of focus, he looks at the nail and remembers the cross on that beach in Florida. It reminds him of what is at the core of his life–his commitment to Jesus Christ.
As I stand on the edge of turning 53, my heart and mind are turned to one great focus. What will it be? I must, and so must you, honestly ask ourselve that question again. What is really at the core of my life?
It is the cross that synthesizes my core and sharpens the focus of my commitment to Christ. He must be my all! He must be my everything!