I got it from a dear friend whose elderly husband had been one of my closest companions in ministry. He had a cross pin, and I'm sure I probably complimented it one time. After his passing, she gave me the pin. It means a lot. Brother Long was a very straightforward man from another era. He had strong beliefs, and he wasn't afraid to express them. He never learned the 'art' of political correctness. He called his method, "the direct approach".
He was a man's man who expected a man to have a man's haircut and not wear jewelry or clothing designed for women. He was a man's man... which means he treated his wife with great respect, as he did all women. I've never met a politically correct liberal who treated women better.
He did not set out to offend anyone, but if someone was offended by his opinion, he felt like they were even, because he was offended by their opposite opinion. Not only did he use the direct approach, he expected the same from others.
He wore his Kentucky WIldcats gear proudly. He sported his Republican candidate bumper sticker proudly. He called it 'advertising'. When I saw him with a Wildcats hat, I may say, "Nice hat." He would say, "Yeah... doing a little advertising." He advertised those things he believed in. Mostly he advertised his faith. He loved Jesus, and he was glad to let people know it. While W.B. knew that Jesus was the most offensive thing he could 'advertise' in a culture that is opposed to Christ, it didn't matter.
I think he liked the fact that Jesus used the direct approach. Jesus told us of our sin, and the consequences that go with it. "Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
But He was just as direct with the cure for the sin in our lives. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
And Christ was direct in His approach to the cross, where He sacrificed Himself to make a clear path to the Father. As His earthly ministry flourished, He knew His mission called Him to death before resurrection. The Bible tells us, "When the days were coming to a close for Him to be taken up, He determined to journey to Jerusalem." (Luke 9:51)
Jesus used the direct approach. But some Christians use a veiled approach. Some believers are kind of incognito, or undercover. You really can't see Christ in their life. You can't see the cross. Jesus was killed in public humiliation, but He went through it for us. So how can we blend into the culture when Jesus took such a direct approach to free us from the very sin that put Him on the cross?
Anna asked where I go the cross. I know where Jesus got His cross. It was from me. I got mine from a friend who would gladly advertise Jesus. When Anna tried to take a picture of my cross pin for this devotional, it was difficult to see the cross in the picture. Apparently the flash was causing it to blend into the rest of my jacket pattern. When she turned the flash off, the cross shown brightly.
We need not shine a light on the cross... we just have to let it shine for itself in our lives. Don't hide it. Don't try to make it impressive... just take up your cross and follow Jesus. Some will be offended, but others will look and believe. Jesus said about His ministry on the cross, "The Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned,because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God." (John 3:14-18)
Lift Him up today.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.