I just finished listening to a sermon by Francis Chan that has undone me. I'd like to say it's not easily done but, with the way I've been running around this week like a chicken...well you know, I'd be telling a big, fat, lie. Big. Fat.
The sermon is on living eternally and I can't recommend it enough. He's an amazing preacher and walks the talk in the Simi Valley area of California where he lives.
I'm a visual learner so when he used this analogy, it really stood out to me and I thought I'd share it with you.
Mr. Chan held up a long, long piece of rope stretched all across the stage where he was speaking. He asked the church to imagine if the rope wound round and round the room, filling it up and then went out the door. It then went round and round the city, state and even the world.
It would be a pretty long rope.
At one end was about an eight inch section in the rope that was painted red.
Our eternal lives are represented by the rope. The red part, that took up just a fraction of the whole thing, represented our lives on earth. That small part, in relation to the whole, is what we, even as Christians, spend the majority of time thinking about. Living for. Wanting to make as perfect as possible - as painless as possible.
We are consumed with things that effect only the red part, our little vapor, and they will be gone in a breath. Even more, the way we live in the red part has an effect on what our life will be like for the rest of eternity.
My eyes are often fixed on things that have zero percent eternal value - what I wear, what my house looks like, what I eat, or drink, or how much is in our savings account. Actually, I don't spend much time on that one because it sometimes makes my stomach hurt, but the others can consume me before I even realize it. And the truth is, I can talk a really good game. But what am I thinking about, worrying about, or doing with my time? How am I walking, not just talking?
As we get ready to start our summer, my hope is that I can learn to get my eyes off the red part and back onto what matters - and I will know, we all will know, the unspeakable joy found only in Christ.