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Seeking Things Above


If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Col 3:1)

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2008-08-01

Carrying Your Own Cross


First, I want to say that I truly appreciate all of the encouraging comments I've received on my recent posts as I wrestle with God over what He wants me to do about the plight of the poor. However, this is not just about me. This is much bigger than a question about how much of my disposable income should be given to charity. This is about all of us, Christ's body, seeing the problem with Jesus' eyes, not just when we read about it, but it should be part of our every thought and every dream.

Warning - I am going to attempt to put a visual in your mind that will never leave. Stop reading now if you'd rather not think about it.

The stadium in the picture above is Kyle Field. The seating capacity is 82,600. Every week, during football season, this stadium is packed with Aggie football fans. That is a lot of people. That is more people than the entire population in most small towns in America.

Every week, all year long, 98,000 children quietly die directly from starvation or indirectly from their inability to resist common diseases. That number is small compared to the number that are suffering, hurting, and crying but just not dead yet.

This football season, when you see a packed stadium, remember that a stadium full of children died because of starvation this week and thousands more are just waiting their turn.

Each of us has a different calling from God on what to do about this issue. I am also well aware that this is just one of many problems in our world. As Christ's body we are full of different parts and different roles. However, we each do have a part and a role.
Luke 14:27
27 "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Carrying our own cross does not mean carrying our own problems and burdens. Our own problems and burdens are to be handed over to Jesus. Our cross is the spiritual and physical problems and burdens of others.

It is obvious that God is telling me that my cross includes the starving children around the world. It's not so obvious yet, all that He wants me to do about it, but I'm seeking. I encourage you to know your cross, but more importantly, to actually pick it up and carry it.

If you're living a comfortable life most days, chances are there may not be a cross on your shoulder. If you're living under your own stress most days, chances are there may not be a cross on your shoulder because your shoulders are already weighed down with your own burdens.

This is not just about me. It's much bigger than that.


13 comments:

Larry and Jennifer Darnell said...

Tony,

Great visual. I can see 88,000 sitting in Doak Campbell stadium for FSU football. It is a staggering image.

Did not mean to imply this is all about you. I know you care for others.

That statement "If you're living under your own stress most days, chances are there may not be a cross on your shoulder because your shoulders are already weighed down with your own burdens" speaks volumes.

Perhaps I need to see what's on my own shoulders...

Tony Cathey said...

I am with you on this issue. It seems that God is dealing with you on some things. Just keep praying for clarity on them. Keep your eyes on Christ's Finished Work of Calvary even if he gives you a "job" so to speak. Some people get caught up in their "mission" that they actually start putting faith in that, instead of Christ.
It is exciting to see God work in a fellow believers life, even when we don't formally know each other. I will keep you in my prayers, bro.

Tony
http://www.imablogger.net

Tony said...

Larry -

I just spent 4 days at a preteen camp. I know the cross you are carrying, brother, working with these kids year around.

I'd be interested in a post on your site sometime on your experiences and ideas on getting parents more engaged in the spiritual growth of their middle school children.

Actually, I think most of the folks that make frequent comments here are carrying a cross of sorts just by posting their life and their faith online for the world to see.

I really do appreciate the words and encouragement from brothers and sisters as I share my struggles. My comment about not being just about me has more to do with my vision\dream of seeing The Church, in America, get more engaged with living out God's Kingdom now.

I see too many passive Christians. Their salvation is secure, but they're missing out on the Kingdom today.

Carrying our crosses is more than a commandment. It's a promise of fulfillment for those that pick it up and go with it, regardless of any inconveniences and discomforts.

Let's get our hands dirty. That's what I mean that it's bigger than me.

Grace and Peace brother. I appreciate your sharing on my thoughts.

Tony

Karen Zemek, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

What a great visual to make us realize how great the need is around the world. It's easy to forget sometimes that there are many hungry people around the world when we have so much here in the USA at our finger tips! Thanks for the reminder, Tony!

Tony said...

Tony C - Thanks brother. And thanks for the cross you bear holding up the light of truth on your site.

Grace and Peace.

Tony

Kgraham said...

Wow.... That is a great visual reminder of what is going on beyond our little worlds... Thanks for sharing, and thanks for prodding th rest of us to think and pray on this stuff too.

TMinut said...

Tony, did you see this video called "What Is Poverty"?
http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/index.php?ct=store.details&pid=V00498

Tony said...

tminut -

Great video. If we all loved our neighbors - our poverty stricken neighbors, then no more poverty. That kind of love, friendship, gets your hands pretty dirty. How many of us are really ready to open our doors to those living in real poverty?

Thanks for sharing this video find.

Tony

Cindy said...

Thank you for this post. This is an awesome visual that you have given us and it is one that will never leave my mind.

It is so important that we know our cross and carry it, willingly! I will be praying for you while you continue to seek God in knowing just how to handle that cross that He has given you.

kikamz said...

The image of the stadium packed with hungry and dying children is very vivid. The truth that poverty is all around us can never be denied.. I hope that you will be able to discern what God really wants you to do in the face of poverty.

Brad said...

"If you're living a comfortable life most days, chances are there may not be a cross on your shoulder."

I am challenged by this.

God has blessed me with a comfortable marriage, a comfortable job, a comfortable church, a comfortable house, comfortable friends, and mostly comfortable children ...

woe! something for me to think and pray about.

Tony said...

Brad -

You are blessed and God wants to bless us. The comfortable aspect I'm referring to is being blessed and then just sitting on your hands and letting life be all about the blessings.

To whom much is given, much is expected.

Just in sharing your faith with hundreds online, you're doing more than just sitting on your blessings.

Peace and Grace, brother.

Tony said...

kikamz\Cindy - thank you.

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