23And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25“For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” — Luke 9:23–26
So often the radical and shocking nature of taking up your cross gets softened and blunted, eventually meaning little more than a little inconvenience. The following letter written by a 20 year missionary to only be opened on her death seems to refocus and clarify the issue of discipleship:
Open in case of death
Dear Pastor Phil and Pastor Roger,
You should only be opening this in the event of death.
When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn’t called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward . . .
The missionary heart:
Cares more than some think is wiseRisks more that some think is safeDreams more than some think is practicalExpects more than some think is possible.
I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience. . . .
There is no Joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him. I love you two and my church family.
In His care,