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God's Appointments

God's Appointments

“And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; him they compelled to bear his cross.” Matthew 27:32

The man hurrying through the city gate didn't know it but he had an appointment to keep that caused his name to be remembered down through the ages. Some men are remembered because of their valiant deeds; some are remembered by their talents; some are remembered by their beneficences; still others because of costly memorials erected to them. This man is remembered because he was in the right place at the right time, not by his own design, but according to God's timetable. The service for which he is remembered was not voluntary; in fact, it was pressed upon him.

Although the trip from Cyrene had been long and tiring, Simon's weariness was lost in his joy at being in Jerusalem for Passover. All his life he had listened to glowing accounts from those who had been privileged to attend the Paschal Feast and in his heart was kindled a determination to observe Passover in the Holy City once during his lifetime. He would be content to return to Cyrene and relive the experience in his memory, as he told others of the thrill of worshiping in the temple of Jerusalem. Even the sacrificing to save enough money for the trip seemed nothing as he hastened toward the temple. Lost in his own thoughts, Simon took little notice of the mournful procession coming toward him. Anxious as he was to get away from this unpleasant scene and make his way to the temple, the hand of the soldier on his shoulder and the rough command to carry the cross came as a rude shock. He knew nothing of the One whose cross he was compelled to carry. As he walked slowly behind Him, back out through the city gate and on to the place of crucifixion, he must have wondered what this Man's crime was that He had been so cruelly mistreated. Whether Simon witnessed the crucifixion, whether he believed the inscription on the center cross, whether he ever got to the temple, we do not know.

What was Simon's attitude as he served the Lord that day? Was this just a task to be gotten through as quickly as possible so that he could go on with his own plans? Or, recognizing the intensity of the need, did he willingly forego his own plans to carry out this service to the Lord? There is no way for us to know about Simon, but it might be well for us to examine our motives in our service to Christ. We are not called to follow the faltering footsteps of the wounded Jesus, bearing a wooden cross for Him, as was Simon. We are called to follow the triumphant footsteps of the living Christ. How great should be our joy at this privilege! Sometimes, however, Christians give the impression that they are doing the Lord a favor by serving Him. They seem anxious to get through their service to Him as quickly as possible in order to indulge in their own pleasures. If we are truly following in His steps, should we not count it a privilege to do whatever He asks, whether great or small, willing to subject our plans to His plan for our lives?

Simon was pressed into service—a very menial service at that—but it was not overlooked. Indeed, it was recorded in the Word of God for Christians of all ages to note. Willing, loving service to Him will be doubly rewarded by the present satisfaction of knowing we are doing His will and by His future, “Well done!”


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