How's Your Back?
How's Your Back?
A story is told about a preacher who was in the middle of his sermon when he turned the focus to Simon of Cyrene, the man who carried the cross of Jesus (Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26). He challenged the congregation to put themselves at the scene and think about how they would have reacted. Before long a nine-year-old boy came walking up the aisle. The preacher stopped and the auditorium fell silent This boy came from a troubled and unfaithful family. His father was a miner and his mother was an outcast. There was no telling what this boy might say.
The boy spoke up and said, “You asked what I would have done if I had been in the crowd when Jesus fell under the weight of His cross." He looked earnestly up at the preacher. "Sir, I would have helped Him carry it." The preacher reasoned, “Yes, but if you had helped Him carry His cross, the cruel Roman soldiers would have ruthlessly beaten you across your back.” Unshaken, the boy replied, “I don't care. I would have helped Him carry it just the same."
A few weeks later the preacher was standing near the door at the end of services. As the boy was passing by the preacher affectionately patted him on the back. The boy painfully winced away and said, “Please don’t do that.” Having barely touched the boy, the preacher took him over to the side to figure out what was wrong. As the boy lifted his shirt, he revealed several large crisscrossed welts. The preacher cringed in anger, “Who did this?” The boy responded, “My mother did. She whipped me because I came to church” (Illustration by Travis Brown).
Even at such a young age, this boy showed incredible dedication. Despite taking a beating from his mother, the brave nine-year-old chose to put the Lord first, even above his parents. Had he been there the day Jesus carried his cross, certainly this young boy would have kept his word and run out to help Christ carry His cross.
Matthew 10:37-38 says, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
The heart of this Scripture is bold and clear: the Lord must come first in our lives, even above family. This boy was willing to take punishment just to be able to come worship. He was willing to put up with a sore back to come to church.
So, how's your back? Sure, you're probably not facing physical abuse because you came to worship. But are you putting anything on the line? What excuses have we been telling ourselves to miss out on worship? Yes, we've been in the middle of a strange and difficult time, but the church is meeting back together and worshiping God. Are you?
Our Lord gave up every comfort to go to the cross for us. Are we willing to give up some comforts for Him in return?