Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Like Clockwork

As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

-- Luke 23:26

During the 1950’s and 1960’s Timex had more than a 50 percent market share of the American wristwatch business. Officially known as U.S. Time, the company’s dependable timepieces were sold in thousands of department stores and pharmacies across the nation. And it’s no doubt that Timex’s popular television commercials helped to drive sales. Sometimes broadcasted live and in primetime, the advertisements used extreme demonstrations to prove their products’ toughness and reliability. Examples include a Timex watch strapped to a speedboat, abused by a wild gorilla, and run through a dishwasher.

“It takes a licking, and keeps on ticking,” proclaimed long-time spokesman John Cameron Swayze. And sure enough, Timex watches usually did just that.

Oddly enough, those old commercials can teach us something about what it means to be a true Christ-follower: dependability. After all, what good is a watch if you can’t rely on it? And that’s the same question that we need to ask if we call ourselves Christ-followers. Our journey is one on a narrow, winding path. Potholes seem to be everywhere and it’s often impossible to see what’s over the next hill. The only way to stay on the path is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and follow Him – no matter what’s coming at us in the opposite lane. This requires obedience and sometimes means suffering and sacrifice. But the final destination is well worth the inevitable fender-benders and detours we’ll all face on the trip.

We need to understand that our troubles won’t suddenly disappear the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We also can’t expect a smooth drive down Easy Street. In fact, our daily struggles may actually intensify because the Devil now sees us as a threat. Instead, count on hitting bumps along the road:

“In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus promises us. “But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Unfortunately, too many would-be Christ-followers give up and turn away when the troubles of everyday life get too big. Instead of relying on the unlimited resources they could have as a child of God, they wither from the heat of trials and circumstances.

Like those dependable wristwatches in the commercials, Christ-followers must live lives demonstrating reliability and toughness. Ours is a permanent, 24/7 identity – not simply a role we play for an hour or two on Sundays and at weekly Small Group gatherings. Instead, Jesus tells us to “take up our cross” daily. And then follow Him.

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