In the comic strip, BEETLE BAILEY, the general looks at his office staff, who are leaning on their elbows at their desks, and immediately changes a wall sign from THINK to ACT.
Jesus had done much to teach his disciples. Now it was time to act. Jesus said, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." I wonder if it's even possible to speak about self-denial. After all, we live in a society where ME comes first. We say things like, "I've got to find myself. I've got to do my own thing. I will buy only the finest, because after all, 'I'm worth it.'"
Such an attitude was epitomized for many people by Margaret Trudeau, the wife of the former Prime Minister of Canada. You may remember her. At age 28, after marrying the Prime Minister of Canada and giving birth to three beautiful children, she announced simply that she was not herself. She left her husband and her children behind in order to be herself. We are the ME generation. We want what we want and we want it now.
How strange these words of Jesus seem in this context. "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves." Deny yourself. How out of place those words may seem, but that is exactly what our savior is calling us to do.