“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples,
he said to them, “If anyone would come after me,
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
Mark 8:34-35 (ESV)
Two words that exemplify the very character of Christ, which we as believers are commanded and called to model.
Two words that were brought to life as she sat in our living room the night of her return and shared about three doctors working at the medical clinics in Haiti.
Two words that have stuck with me ever since.
When B returned from Haiti, about 10 minutes after she walked through the back door, we sat in the living room and launched into a long and detailed (mostly because I ask a lot of annoying questions) conversation regarding her experience.
To say that I was deeply touched and amazed by the stories she shared of the Haitian doctors, with whom she worked closely at the medical clinics, would be a serious understatement.
Having attended medical school in Haiti, at least a couple of the doctors had the opportunity to do some type of internship or residency in the United States and at least one of the doctors has legal residency here. But rather than staying in the United States where they could likely get a high-paying job and live the so-called “American dream,” they each chose to go back and serve the Haitian people.
But these doctors don’t just serve. They sacrifice and they give. Of their whole life.
One of the doctors is in charge of running the medical clinics. Day in and day out. Week in and week out. A life dedicated to serving others. Regardless of the personal sacrifice on his time and resources.
Another one of the doctors has expressed a desire to use their land to build a more permanent medical clinic as well as an affordable school. That’s right, rather than focusing on building a home (and a life) for themselves, they’ve set their sights towards building a stable environment for others.
All for the glory of Christ.
When B returned from Haiti, the local church where I’m a member was in the middle of our “Missions Conference” week. The very next morning the choir (of which I’m also a member) was scheduled to sing this song:
“We will abandon it all for the sake of the call
No other reason at all, but the sake of the call
Wholly devoted to live and to die for the sake of the call”
(For the Sake of the Call – Steven Curtis Chapman)
This is a song that we have done several times before, and while I’m not proud to admit it, I found myself becoming sort of “immune” to its message. But after hearing B’s account of the Haitian doctors, the weight of the song’s message became very. much. alive.
These doctors are doing just that.
They have quite literally abandoned it all – earthly riches and gain, comfortable surroundings, time for themselves – all for the sake of the call.
In a very real and practical way, they have taken up their cross.
No longer living for self, but for Christ.
Have you received the call?
(And just so there’s no question, if you are a follower of Christ, while your call may not involve going to Haiti and serving in the medical field, you have received the call to take up your cross, to abandon it all, and to follow Christ.)
Will you respond with the same two words and all that they require?