Bearing the Cross. Leaving a Legacy.

Paul J. Meyer, in his book “Unlocking Your Legacy,” tells about the time in 1969 his mother was found after having fallen in her home. She died a few days later in the hospital.

Meyer writes, “In the apron she was wearing the day she fell, I found a note that read: ’S.S. HOPE: 7 miles, 7 cents.’”

“I cried uncontrollably, realizing that she had raised seven cents after walking seven miles for S.S. HOPE, a hospital ship that provided medical care to people in developing nations. Those seven miles might have even been what killed her.”

Meyer could have become bitter about what happened to his mother. He could have blamed God. Or those she was trying to help. However, he was motivated to become a great philanthropist, giving millions to help the needy.

This story speaks to the importance of influence, example, and legacy.

In today’s Bible reading in Mark 15, there’s an even greater story of a lasting legacy. It’s almost obscure. Easy to overlook. A passage to pass over.

Mark records the Lord’s journey to the place of His execution. Tired, beaten, scourged, Jesus struggles with the heavy beam of the cross that will soon hold His body. Then Mark writes:

“And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross” (v. 21).

Simon had journeyed some 800 miles from this North African country. He had come to worship at the Passover. Now a Roman solder was involving him in this spectacle. He may have resented it. But he had to comply. This providential encounter, however, changed his life and altered his legacy.

Mark says that Simon was the father of Rufus and Alexander, obviously known to the Roman readers to whom he was writing. They were Christians. Regarding Rufus, Paul sends his greeting and calls him “chosen in the Lord. He also mentions his mother, who he says “has been a mother to me as well.”

There’s also an Alexander mentioned in Acts 19:13. Then in Luke’s list of men of Antioch who sent Paul and Barnabas out on their first missionary journey is a man named Simeon (another name for Simon) who was called Niger, the name for a swarthy skinned man from Africa.

Think of this: Simon, who bore the cross of Christ, left a lasting legacy to his family that’s forever chronicled in sacred Scripture.

When I think of my family’s legacy, I have pretty good evidence that my great-great-grandfather, John Weliever, from Crawfordsville, Indiana, was a Christian. I know his son Pearson was a deacon and the treasurer in a little country church nearby. My grandmother became a Christian. And so did my father, Roy.

I remember Dad serving as a Deacon and later an elder in the church in Plainfield, Indiana. I grew up going to every service of the church. Listening to Dad give Wednesday night talks. Watching him leave the house to visit the sick, shut-in and unfaithful. Learning of entire families who were baptized because of his personal study with them. Seeing him sit in his big chair in the evening after a hard day’s work in the factory and on a farm, not watching TV. But reading his Bible.

The wise man wrote, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children (Prov 13:22). But greater than a physical or financial inheritance is the spiritual heritage that we can pass on to our children. Grandchildren. And even generations yet unborn.

What legacy are you leaving your family?

Is it a lasting legacy of values that glorify God? Blesses other people? Provides purpose? And results in an eternal reward?

Simon of Cyrene initially bore the cross under compulsion, but later did so out of conviction.

When you and I take up His cross daily and follow Him, who knows who will be impacted? Whose soul will be saved? Whose life will be changed? Whose eternal destiny will be affected?

“The great use of life,” wrote William James, “is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”

Legacy. It’s your name forever etched in the hearts of family, friends, and brethren.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

3 Comments

Filed under Influence

3 responses to “Bearing the Cross. Leaving a Legacy.

  1. Ken, thank you for choosing Mark 15:21 as a key verse to portray the execution of a Christian family legacy.

    You are so on the Mark Ken. In 2020 our focus needs to start on the Mark… with Simon, the man who carried the Cross of Jesus (Mark 15:21).

    Indeed Simon did not want to take up the Cross and die. He enjoyed the freedom of being single and he did not think himself worthy. He had no silver or gold (Acts 3:6). He denied (Mark 14:71) even knowing the Lord and being one of them…Rufus the mother of God and sister of Alexander a.ka. Apollos (Acts 18:24). Marriage would change Simon’s life forever and bring suffering and conflict into his life. Moreover, his mind was full of Cyrenaic philosophy and Buddhist ideas (Matthew 16:23). He “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,” (Philippians 2:6) and did not want to believe he was Christ the Cephas, the Everlasting Father–the Bridegroom of the Bride (John 3:29).

    The Greeks in Lystra and Derbe saw Barnabas born to be Jo Cephas as the Roman God Jove and the Greek God Zeus (Acts 14:12), the Father of Apollo a.ka. Alexander and the Red-haired goddess “Pallas” Athene. By Jove, more importantly, Simon was a Niger, a black man whose ancestors came from North Africa. How could he a black man possibly be the Father of gods and be engaged to marry a red-haired woman with alabaster skin who was a daughter, a citizen of Rome? According to Greek legend, the first Cyrene had been been seduced and abducted by Apollo and then later conquered by Rome. Thereby making Cyrene Rome’s harlot.

    By Jove, all this weighed heavy on Simon’s heart like a roof beam, yet his love for the beautiful Red-Haired Lady compelled him to give himself in marriage and accept the messianic role for which he was born and for which Apollo a.k.a John the Baptist prepared the way. Note: To this day Cretans in the Village of Vamos celebrate the feast of John the Baptist in the tradition of Apollo.

  2. Philip North

    It has been said that there are two good things we can leave our children: One is roots. The other is wings.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Recap 1-19/1-25 | ThePreachersWord

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