Lenten Devotion for Wednesday, March 26

By Brad Garrison

Read John 19:1-11

Pilate had Jesus flogged because he wanted to avoid the cross, but he couldn’t. The Jews wanted Pilate to execute Jesus. They wouldn’t do it because they wanted to avoid the cross, but they couldn’t. Jesus was given the opportunity by Pilate to speak and possibly avoid the cross, but He didn’t … because those who lead are always willing to pay the price.

In fact, anyone who aspires to lead in God’s kingdom must be willing to pay a price higher than others are willing to pay. Every parent understands this truth. The toll of parenting is heavy, and the more effective the parent, the greater the cost.

I have raised four children and am now watching them raise ten grandchildren. If someone asked me how much it had cost to raise to raise four kids, I would say, “not very much, simply one man’s life blood.”

My wife has paid even more, but that is the price of every great achievement, and that price must be paid daily. It comes in the form of self-sacrifice in giving up personal preference for what is in another’s best interest. It comes in the form of loneliness when decisions must be made that the kids don’t like, but we know what’s best for them, and then they are not speaking to us.

It comes in the form of fatigue because families are run by tired women and men trying to balance the multiple demands of family, work, church, and recreation.

And, it comes in the form of rejection as our children grow and go through the process of taking every value we have sacrificed in order to pass on to them and teach them and they lay it aside and then begin to sort through for themselves.

Some values they reject and some values they reappropriate for themselves. The question is: what values are they going to have to sort through and where did they get them?

If I had the opportunity for a redo, would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! Oh, I would correct my screw-ups if I could.

But the sacrifice and loneliness, the fatigue and rejection, those are simply my scars as a follower of Jesus who chose not to avoid the cross, and in the process found the truth of what Jesus meant when He said, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it” (Matthew 16:25).

We pray: Lord forgive me for the times I have avoided the cross and taken the path of least resistance in raising my kids or relating to my family. Give me the strength to pay the price to be the leader you have called me to be in my family, at work, and in this community. In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

Family Discussion

When you add up the cost of parenting (or any leadership position), what total do you get? How will you arrange payment?

Everyday Object

Anything the kids want with a price tag attached that they can’t pay. How will you pay for it? (Jesus paid the price in full and calls us to take up the cross and follow Him.)