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

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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