Jesus tells a story in Matthew 13 about a man who finds a buried treasure in a field. He quickly goes and sells all he owns so he can purchase the field. The man does not see his sacrifice as a burden, but he sees it as joy. Jesus tells the listeners that the kingdom of heaven is like that treasure. Which one of us wouldn't sell all of his possessions to get a treasure of immense worth? It's not hard to understand why the man had joy when he made this sacrifice because he knew what the outcome would be: treasure beyond comprehension. Unfortunately, we don't look at sacrifices we have to make in relationship with God as joy; we see them as burdens. We don't look at giving up trashy media or consumerism mindsets as something that brings us joy; we see those sacrifices as just that: sacrifices. That's why we have such a hard time understanding the words from Hebrews 12:2:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
How could a person endure such sacrifice and pain and still find joy in it? Because He knew what the end result would be. He knew what His sacrifice would bring. As we think about Good Friday and the remembrance of Christ's ultimate sacrifice for humanity, are you thinking about the sacrifices in your life that bring you joy? How are you taking up your cross on a daily basis as Jesus told His followers to do in Matthew 10:38?