In last week's Easter message I mentioned Chuck Johnson, known to most people as "Cross Carrying Chuck", who had devoted his life to serving God by carrying an eight-foot cross as he walked from on side of our great country to the other spreading the gospel:
At times like this I am reminded of the story of Chuck Johnson (Cross-Carrier Chuck) who in 1987 began a life-long journey to tell people about Jesus. After being baptized in San Jose, he made the decision to devote his life to service of the Lord by giving up all of his possessions and walking the roads and highways of this country carrying an eight foot replica of the cross. He spends everyday of his life walking and telling people about Jesus. He has no job, no money, yet the Lord provides for him. He is clothed, fed and sleeps most nights in hotels. How is this possible? True to His word God provides.
I woke up this morning with God urging me to share his story in more depth than I did a week ago. I opened up my computer and plugged his name into Google to get some background information and that's when I learned ... he had died five years ago of a heart attack in South Carolina.
I was shocked.
I first heard about Chuck in the book "Weird U.S. The ODDyssey Continues" (by Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman) in which his story was chronicled in a short article alongside other features about people who live their lives in a less than traditional fashion. I was inspired by both the man and his message. Chuck did something amazing by dropping his life, picking up a cross, and venturing out into the world with no more than a few bucks in his pocket and the love of Jesus in his heart.
Now that's bravery ... more honestly that's true faith in it's purest form.
Over his eleven year journey (yes, he walked around the country for eleven years) Chuck shared his faith with an unknown amount of people and became the subject of numerous newspaper articles and Youtube videos. Here is an except from a local Pittsburgh, Pa online feature:
A California native who has spent the past seven years carrying a 12-foot-long plastic cross around the country set off from Kittanning on Sunday morning with plans to walk west.
Charles Johnson, 45, a former railroad worker originally from Anaheim but now without a home, said he intended to start walking toward Ohio about 9 a.m. on Sunday along Route 422.
Carrying nothing but the cross and a backpack stuffed with essentials, Johnson said he began he began his journey seven years ago in Tijuana, Mexico, with plans to walk the country for 10 years sharing "stories of the cross."
"I'm trying to make it a 10-year walk for Jesus," he said. "God put it on my heart to do this fulltime for him."
He added: "The cross is just meant to be a reminder. I don't preach to people, I pray with people."
Johnson said he started his journey not long after God instructed him to go to Mexico and with only $55. He came out of Mexico with a cross, which he said cost $53 to construct.
I wish that I could have met Chuck and I am saddened by the knowledge that he is not out there, somewhere, spreading the word of God in his way. I however do take comfort in the fact that he lived his short life for Jesus and that he was called home to be with him.