Painful Priorities: I really didn’t want to go to church tonight. We had a special “Maundy Thursday” service at 6:30 p.m., and about an hour before that time, I determined that my recliner was very comfortable. Why would I get out of my comfortable chair, walk away from a favorite TV program, throw on dress clothes, and drive 15 minutes across town to observe Jesus’ last supper with his disciples? I mean, why did it really matter?
But something told me to go, so I begrudgingly cranked the car and dragged myself to the choir loft to sing songs of worship. As the evening service started, I happened to glance to my left and see our large cross located near the organ. Something had changed. On Sunday, the cross had been draped in purple, but on this Thursday it was draped in black. The color changed because the events in Jesus’s life were changing on that special Thursday. While Jesus Christ dined and enjoyed fellowship with his followers on this evening, in a matter of hours he would be betrayed, brought before Pilot, tortured, and hung to die on a cross; cross that bled dark red and black blood as his broken body suffered unbearable hardship.
As I stared at that dark cross, my heart began to break in two. I had complained, griped, moaned, and groaned because I had to throw on dress shoes, drive a few miles through traffic, and give up a mindless t.v. program to go honor my Lord’s sacrifice in the church, when he uttered not one complaint during the personal hell of crucifixion.
I gave up TV…he gave up tears.
I gave up comfort…he gave up crushed bones
I gave up time…he gave up temptation.
I gave up laziness…he gave up love
I gave up a cold soda…he gave up salvation.
When I put the cross into its proper perspective, then I have no room to complain. Instead of seeing it as a chore, I should see the freedom and opportunity to enter the house of my God as a privilege and blessing. Jesus didn’t have to do what he did on Easter. Let me say that again…he didn’t have to take our sins onto his perfect body and suffer unbearable pain. When we glimpse that fact, a new level of intimacy with God can grow. Realize that you’re often giving up nothing for someone who gave up everything. Stop complaining and start committing. Let’s get serious about our Savior.