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There is a story about two young brothers who were caught stealing sheep. The punishment back then was to brand the thief’s forehead with the letters ST which stood for sheep thief. As a result of this, one brother left the village and spent his remaining years wandering from place to place indelibly marked by disgrace. The other remained in the village, made restitution for the stolen sheep, and became a caring friend and neighbor to the townspeople. He lived out his life in the village–an old man loved by all.
One day a stranger came to town and inquired about the ST on the old man’s forehead. “I’m not sure what it means,” another told him. “It happened so long ago, but I think the letters must stand for saint.”
As we face this and every day, we are handed a God-given choice. We can lay down the cross we have been given to bear and passively live life with no challenge to change or we can take it up and be transformed, living for something greater than ourselves: The Kingdom of God. The choice is yours and mine. But let me encourage you: take up the cross God has set beside your pathway. The cross is the pathway to redemption!
PRAYER: Lord, crosses scare us! We would have preferred you had said, “Take up your easy chair and follow me!”, but you never carried an easy chair and if we are to be your followers, we must carry crosses, too. Overcome our fear with the greater desire to follow in your footsteps and to become like our Master! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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