Blessed… He Never Promised You a Rose Garden

“Don’t think that I’ve come to bring peace to the earth. I haven’t come to bring peace but a sword. I’ve come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. People’s enemies are members of their own households. “Those who love father or mother more than me aren’t worthy of me. Those who love son or daughter more than me aren’t worthy of me. Those who don’t pick up their crosses and follow me aren’t worthy of me. Those who find their lives will lose them, and those who lose their lives because of me will find them. (Matthew 10:3-39, Common English Bible).

Since I was a kid I have enjoyed the old Lynn Anderson crossover hit “Rose Garden.” I think about the song, really just the chorus of the song, often when I look at Scriptures that talk about difficulty in life. Wednesday night at Bible Study we talked about just that. One of the other participants in the class quoted the song.

I thought about it again when I read today’s lesson. The whole I idea of picking up one’s cross and losing one’s life point to the difficulty that can come in living out the Christian life. Take a look at the lyrics to the song’s chorus:

I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime
I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden

The words of our lesson are some tough words. “I’ve come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. People’s enemies are members of their own households.” These words are some tough stuff. Is Jesus actually saying here to fight with our family? Are we to fight with our parents and our siblings?

I think the key comes in the next line. “Those who love father or mother more than me aren’t worthy of me. Those who love son or daughter more than me aren’t worthy of me.” When we love the members of our family more than we love God, God is not primary or central. Jesus said that he came not to replace the old covenant but to fulfill it. One of the Ten Commandments says, “Honor your father and mother…” Dividing and battling with them is not honoring them. Still, to place them first, to place them central, is to make them the god of our lives.

When I look at the end of the lesson, “Those who don’t pick up their crosses and follow me aren’t worthy of me. Those who find their lives will lose them, and those who lose their lives because of me will find them,” I think of Peter’s denial of Jesus the night Jesus was arrested. That is far from picking up a cross.

Tradition holds that later, after The Ascension, Peter had a dream where he was under persecution. He ran away from Rome to escape the time of trial (again, not picking up a cross). He had an encounter with Jesus during his escape. Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus’ response was, “To Rome to be crucified again.” With that Peter did pick up his cross and never feared again. This is tradition, not Scripture. Tradition further holds, not only did Peter pick up his cross, he carried it to his crucifixion where he was crucified upside down because he was unworthy of being crucified in the same manner as Jesus.

The words of the lesson are tough words. Put Jesus first. Pick up our crosses. Lose our lives. But, if we do those things, we will find ourselves with even more life, life eternal with Jesus Christ our Lord.

What does it mean for you to pick up your cross?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s