I asked some young people if they would give up and sacrifice themselves, if Christ were to call them, now, today. They were serious awhile, fidgeted, and answered awkwardly that they were tied to their homes; their parents wouldnt understand; and they felt this had to wait until they were older and could make their own decisions.
I heard a young man being asked concerning his religious convictions. He looked alternately embarrassed and irritated. He answered with long details of how active his wife was in the church; and how his kids went to Sunday school nearly every Sunday. He was relieved when his questioner left him. His eyes followed him with accusation.
I heard a young woman being asked to dedicate a portion of her time to needed Christian works. The eyebrows arched sharply and the replies came quickly in staccato rhythm. In rapid succession she listed her civic duties; her responsibilities to her children; and she concluded with reference to her husband putting his foot down about her many, too many activities.
I heard an elderly person being asked to declare and dedicate his life in a special Christian manner. He snorted and snapped that it was the younger peoples job. Hed done his work in his day, and hed earned a rest.
The cross is a lonely place. Even Christ didnt pick it up quickly and easily. He waits for others to do it And he waits. And he waits.
Fred Craddock, in an address to ministers, caught the practical implications of consecration. “To give my life for Christ appears glorious,” he said. “To pour myself out for others. . . to pay the ultimate price of martyrdomIll do it. Im ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory.
“We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking $l,000 bill and laying it on the tableHeres my life, Lord. Im giving it all. “But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $l,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kids troubles instead of saying, Get lost. Go to a committee meeting. Give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home.
“Usually giving our life to Christ isnt glorious. Its done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; its harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul.”