Pastor Larson’s Corner: Doing the hard thing

Pastor Larsons Corner

St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan monks, grew up in the lap of luxury. Francis was heir to the fortune of a wealthy merchant. The road to success and riches was wide and easy for Francis. As he grew in faith, he discovered that the way of Christ was never the easy way. Later he renounced his inheritance and choose what he called “the hard thing,” a life of poverty and service to others.

As Jesus journeyed to the cross, He was often tempted by others to choose another way. It would have been easy for Jesus to take this road, to save himself and destroy His enemies. Instead, Jesus did “the hard thing” and died on the cross. What Jesus accomplished through this act was much more than He would have accomplished with an awesome display of power. Through His death on the cross, Jesus saved the world from the power of sin and death. He also released into the world a power that has enabled His followers to follow Him in the way of suffering and service.

You and I are servants of a savior who calls us to do “the hard thing.” He calls us to put others before ourselves and be willing to suffer for the sake of others. No one understood this better than St. Francis of Assisi. He knew the way of Christ would be the most difficult way to live. By his example we are also called to “do the hard thing” whenever life’s most difficult moments force us to make a choice. Invariably, the most difficult way will be the way of Christ. However, with the power of Christ in our lives and the inspiration of Christians like St. Francis, we can, like both of them, choose to always “do the hard thing.”

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the March 11, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.