Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Don’t Miss the Boat

Matthew 8:18-20; 23 When Jesus saw the crowd around him; he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. (19) Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." (20) Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head (23) Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.

There are "destiny moments" when you have to make life-changing choices. One day Jesus invited two people to join His team, but they both had their reasons for putting it off. One had a funeral to attend, another wanted to go home to explain his decision. That's the last we hear of them. Matthew records, "Then [Jesus] got into the boat and His disciples followed Him." And they missed the boat!

There are so many examples in the Bible of people who make emotional responses like this teacher of the law in Matthew 8:19. He says, "I will follow you wherever you go" however, for whatever reason, it appears he missed the boat. Then we have Simon Peter that says, "even if everyone else denies you Jesus, I never will. Even if I have to die, I will not deny you" and less than eight hours later, Peter denies Jesus three times. How about the other disciples? They said they wouldn't deny or forsake Jesus, however they ran at the first sign of trouble. So many people do this very thing. They commit to serving Jesus, and gladly do so as long as things are going well. But my friend, the true test of your faith is in the difficult times of life. Anyone can have faith, when it is not really needed, or when it isn't being attacked. But how is your faith when you are under stress or pressure? Do you run to Jesus, or from Him? Do you praise God regardless of your situation, or do you wait until you SEE that you have reason to praise Him. So many people MISS THE BOAT because they aren't willing to pay the price of commitment! Jesus is telling you…"Get into the boat, follow me" in spite of what you are going through. Put Him first, not second, third, etc. Seek Him FIRST!

Even thought the test of your FAITH is during the tough times of life, the true test of your FAITHFULNESS and relationship with God is during the good times of life. When things are going well, do you just enjoy your relationship with God, or do you put Him and your relationship on the backburner to be brought back to the forefront of your life at the first sign of trouble? If so, you are "missing the boat!"

You'll never be successful if you're forever putting things off. If you take too long to make up your mind about an opportunity, you'll miss out on seizing it. One of the best illustrations of this is the story about the patent of the telephone. In the 1870's two men worked extensively on modifying and improving telegraphy, which was the current technology. Both had ideas for transmitting sound by wire, and both explored the transmission of the human voice electronically. What's remarkable is that both men - Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray - filed their idea at the patent office on the same day, February 14, 1876. Bell was the fifth person that day who filed for a patent. Gray, on the other hand, got busy with other things so he sent his attorney. Unfortunately the attorney arrived more than an hour after Bell, to apply for a caveat, a kind of declaration of intention to file for a patent. Those minutes cost Gray a fortune. Bell's claim was upheld in court, even though Gray complained that he had come up with the idea first.

So it's not enough to see your God-given opportunities, you have to seize them. In other words - don't miss the boat! There are so many MOMENTS in time that we must SEIZE, but none more important that the moments that we have to get away with Jesus. Just to spend those precious moments in His presence through prayer, meditating on His Word, praise and worship and thanksgiving. Whatever you do…don't' MISS THE BOAT like the religious scholar in our text did. Can you imagine it? Jesus asked Him to come away with Him to follow Him, but somehow SOMETHING was more important to Him than getting away with Jesus. How many times have we MISSED THE BOAT of opportunity to spend time with Jesus because we were just TOO BUSY OR DISTRACTED?

Matthew 6:19-21; 31-33, where Jesus cautions us not to focus on temporary earthly riches but on eternal riches in heaven; to focus first on His kingdom and not to worry about our daily needs.

He who dies with the most toys— still dies .

What do you want out of life? What attracts you, and drives you to get up and get going every day?

Are you living for your family, for fame, money, or a bigger house? Or are you living for the honor and glory of the King of kings?

Egypt's "Great Pyramid of Giza" is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It's immense mass and precision of construction still impresses us today. An early Pharoah of Egypt built the Great Pyramid over 4500 years ago as his personal tomb, and it remained the tallest man-made structure in the world until the 19 th century.

The pharaohs had vast stores of gold, jewels and other priceless treasures buried with them to provide for their needs in the afterlife. The Great Pyramid was supposedly the greatest of all of the Egyptian tombs, so when Western explorers painstakingly unearthed the tomb centuries later, they expected to find a "king's ransom" of wealth. They actually found nothing. Even the mummy case containing the embalmed body of Pharoah Khufu was gone. Unknown grave robbers had long since stripped the burial chamber bare of gold, jewels, and precious treasures.

Even mighty Pharaoh couldn't take his wealth with him! Anonymous thieves stripped his grave of everything, leaving only an empty and outwardly impressive tomb for a dead king whose body had long since turned to dust.

Most people spend their lives chasing things that do not last. They waste their most productive years pursuing wealth, pleasure and fame—only to reach the end of their lives with nothing to show for it all.

What good are riches, possessions or fame if you have nothing waiting in the hereafter? It has been said that "you will never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul." The writer of Ecclesiastes said, "As he came from his mother's womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand." (Ecclesiastes 5:15) Jesus said in Mark 8:36, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Most people have it backwards. They pursue things and possessions thinking they are building security for themselves and their families. Jesus described a man who built bigger barns to hold all his grain so he could relax in luxury. But when God required his soul, he was not ready. Please read the account of this story from the Message translation of the Bible:

Luke 12:15-21 Speaking to the people, he went on, "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot." (16) Then he told them this story: "The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. (17) He talked to himself: 'What can I do? My barn isn't big enough for this harvest.' (18) Then he said, 'Here's what I'll do: I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll gather in all my grain and goods, (19) and I'll say to myself, Self, you've done well! You've got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!' (20) "Just then God showed up and said, 'Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods--who gets it?' (21) "That's what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God."

This man "missed the boat" didn't he? He thought that his value and worth came from the abundance of his possessions. Too many in America are missing the boat in this area as well. God blesses you not so that you can be stingy and tight fisted, but so that you can be a blessing to other people! The Bible says, "It is more blessed to GIVE than to RECEIVE." So my question to you today is, "What, or WHO are you seeking?"

We find true security in seeking the kingdom of God. Seek the things of the Spirit and everything else will be supplied. Be careful about what you allow to impress you. Whatever impresses you attracts you. Strong attraction produces persistent pursuit. And whatever you pursue becomes your purpose.

Pursue the King of Kings-Jesus Christ; let Him become your purpose. This way you gain His kingdom and everything that goes with it. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Pursue the King and He will give you everything else you need.

Jim Elliott, a missionary martyred in the jungles of South America in 1956, said, "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." The choice is yours. Will you spend your life pursuing things of the world that pass away, or will you pursue the King and His kingdom, which never passes away? It really is your choice…just please, don't miss the boat! Blessings!

Today's "Through the Bible in a year" Bible reading: Wednesday April 16, 2008: Nehemiah 11:1 – Nehemiah 13:31

This week's memory verse to "Hide in my heart": Hebrews 11:1

(KJVR) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


Treasure Seeker said...

i love this! thanks for the encouraging reminder!
love you!