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Rene Lacoste, the world's top tennis player in the late 1920s, won seven major singles titles during his career, including multiple victories at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the French Open. His friends called him "Le Crocodile," an apt term for his tenacious play on the court.

Lacoste accepted the nickname and had a tiny crocodile embroidered on his tennis blazers. When he added it to a line of shirts he designed, the symbol caught on. While thousands of people around the world wore "alligator shirts," the emblem always had a deeper significance for Lacoste's friends who knew its origin and meaning.

The cross, an emblem of Christianity, holds special meaning for every friend of Christ. Whenever we see a cross, it speaks to us of Christ's tenacious determination to do His Father's will by dying for us on Calvary. What a privilege to know Him and be included in His words to His disciples: "Henceforth I call you not servants;...but I have called you friends" (John 15:15).

I can picture a friend of Lacoste seeing the little alligator on someone's shirt, and saying, "I know the story behind that emblem. Lacoste is my friend." And I can picture a friend of Jesus seeing a cross and doing the same.

-- Our Daily Bread, Sept.-Nov. 1997, page for October 5 --

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