Luke 9:23-25 Good News Translation (GNT)

And he said to them all, “If you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, take up your cross every day, and follow me. For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life for my sake, you will save it. Will you gain anything if you win the whole world but are yourself lost or defeated? Of course not!

Two hundred years ago, in Japan, lived a famous painter named Hokusai. A patron came to see him. He asked for a painting of a cockerel in all its glory. Hokusai agreed. Sometime later, the patron sent a servant asking if the painting was ready. “Not yet”, said the painter. Again, after some time, the same thing happened. A year went by and then the rich patron came himself. “Is my painting still not ready?” he asked. The painter took him into his studio. He stretched a piece of silk, prepared his paints and brushes and, in a few minutes, produced a magnificent painting. His patron was overjoyed, but then began to get angry. “If you could paint that picture in ten minutes,” he asked, “why have you kept me waiting so long for it?” Hokusai led him into the next room. There, all over the floor, were stacks of drawings, sketches, studies of cockerels. Some of the whole bird, others of a head, or a claw, or a feather. The reason he could paint the ten-minute masterpiece was the year’s work he had spent in preparation.

There are no short cuts either in painting or in the Christian life – the Christian journey is a daily walk. The discipline of faithfulness and patience.

Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave self behind; day after day he must take up his cross, and come with me…”

And as we walk, we realise His presence alongside us, day by day.