Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24 NRSV)
Deny yourself and take up a cross. The ultimate success formula. Try it. I guarantee you it will work. But before you go out into the world to try it, let me add one thing. Some of you are going to find that material success is not really all that satisfying. There are a lot of lonely people driving Porches and Mercedes, living in homes with marble floors and crystal chandeliers. These folks are finding out too late that upward mobility is not necessarily the formula for a peaceful heart or a loving home. So we need to re-examine for a moment Christ's words. We overlooked some of them. He said, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Jesus is not talking about Rolex watches at all, is he? He's talking about forgetting ourselves for the sake of others. Isn't that what he did? Isn't that what the cross really is all about? He's not talking about becoming real go-getters but real go-givers. He's not talking about stocks and bonds, but soup kitchens and bread lines. He's not talking about winning the rat race, but serving the human race in Jesus' name.