The story is told of two thieves who broke into a church. They were drawn to the figure of Christ hanging on the cross behind the altar. Reflecting the moonlight shining through the windows, it was clearly made of some valuable metal and so they took it.
When the burglary was discovered the following morning, the priest noticed that the thieves had taken the figure of Christ, but had left behind the cross on which it had been hanging.
The story illustrates the tendency of many who want Jesus for the peace, comfort and healing that He might bring, but who don’t want to pay the price of dying to self. Jesus made clear, however, that you can’t have one without the other. To follow Him means taking up your own cross. The call to follow Jesus is not a call to a life of comfort and ease, bolted on to the lives we’re already living; but a call to a radical way of life which will inevitably bring suffering and opposition.
Following Jesus is the path to eternal life, but before you set out on the journey, you must make sure that you are ready to pay the price.