I live in a community that takes great pride in it’s school sports teams. The parents are very supportive of the sports and bands. In fact throughout town many business have large concrete bears, the teams mascot, placed outside there business decorated in various ways to support the towns teams. You can purchase “Bear” products in the grocery stores, hardware store and even the pharmacy. At team, choir and band events the stands or auditoriums are a sea of red and black, the school colors, all in support of the teams and their respective sons and daughters.
I have a friend who attends her daughters games, performances and even practices. She participates in all the fundraisers and even chaperones the team trips. She participates in everything to support her daughter and her team. I have friends that go out of their way to dress entirely in team jerseys and even paint their faces in the team colors.
But this level of commitment isn’t always easy. Such commitment requires sacrifice, sometimes great sacrifice. These things take a bite out of a families budget. These things require a good bit of a parents time. Some give up vacation days to join the team on trips. These things cause parents and families to change their personal plans and schedules all around just to be a part.
So as all this was going through my mind I realized that this is just the lesson Jesus was trying to teach is disciples. In Matthew 16:24 He said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life, will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” To be fully committed to Jesus Christ takes great sacrifice too. It won’t be easy either, in fact it will be very difficult at times. You’ll have hard choices to make along the way. Think about it, Jesus Christ came to save us, but it wasn’t easy. Salvation came only through His death on the cross.
We are called to fully follow Christ, and it won’t always be easy. But it will be both worth it now and for an eternity. There is no greater joy than following Jesus.