My husband, Scruffy, was scheduled to speak about camp at a little church on the West side of Washington, but everything went wrong. First, the generator that powers the camp broke down. Second, the backup generator that we rented at the last minute at an increased price broke down. Third, some electrical thing-a-ma-bob on the pump for the well broke down. This left Choco no choice but to drive forty minutes to Wal-Mart for jugs of water so the rental group could cook and flush toilets.
As we bid Choco goodbye and rushed over the mountains, Scruffy and I couldn’t help but think: “What in the world are we doing here?” At church that Sunday the pastor spoke from many passages, including Mark 8:34. Scruff and I had been stewing over the upcoming Staff Training session on The Gospel. One of the most important elements of Staff Training is to teach our summer staff how to share the gospel with children in a simple way that is true to scripture. Scruff and I both started scribbling notes, looked up at each other and mouthed, “Staff Training”, then continued to scribble.
Why were we there at that cute little church eating pastries, drinking coffee, and talking to folks when Choco was wrestling with the generator and the well pump and they really needed us back at camp? Perhaps there are reasons that I will never guess, but here is one of them.
Mark 8:34—“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Deny self, take up cross, follow Christ.
It doesn’t get more simple then that folks. And I don’t think you will make things any clearer or more true by adding words. This is the essence of the Christian walk. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus came, He lived, He loved, He died, He rose, He is coming, and He has called us to follow Him. How does one respond to the Gospel and become a follower? Jesus told us Himself.
Deny self, take up cross, follow me.
At that moment Scruff and I knew that we were supposed to be there. God had things to say. We had been stewing and praying and wondering over the Staff Training sessions. But God had answers, at a little church on the Westside, on the weekend that everything broke down.