Before Teri and I were married, we went fishing on the Bourbeuse River. Since she is an aquatic biologist, I thought I would impress her with my prowess as a fisherman. As we floated downstream I found the perfect spot for smallmouth. So I grabbed the anchor and threw it overboard. Unfortunately, I forgot to tie the anchor rope to the boat, and the anchor and rope disappeared beneath the water. And yes, that did make an impression on her.
Many people feel like life is out of control, that they are drifting aimlessly, and that there’s no anchor, nothing solid, in their lives. The Bible states, “...hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews. 6:18,19). That hope is in heaven. You will not find it in this world. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Cor. 15:19).
Let the anchor of your soul be the “hope set before us.” That hope is with Jesus in heaven, “where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf” (Heb. 6:20). The resurrection and ascension of our Savior makes that anchor “sure and steadfast.” That anchor will not slip, drag, or drift.
If you are looking for paradise here on earth, plan on being continually disappointed. Jesus said it is like building your house on a foundation of sand. Let Jesus be your anchor, and in spite of this world, you will find joy. That anchor will hold.
Jesus is about a 2-day walk from Jerusalem. His attention is needed in Bethany, a village suburb of Jerusalem. A contract to kill him has been issued by the authorities in Jerusalem. His disciples think a trip to Bethany is a suicide mission. In response, Jesus asked that question. (John 11:9)
Is this a trick question, or something else? It’s something deeper. Earlier Jesus had said we must work “while it is day” (John 9:4), because “night is coming when no one can work.”
You have your day here on earth. God gives you enough time for what he wants you to do. You need to finish your work before the sun sets on your life here on earth.
The expression “haste makes waste” is fitting here. There is no need to hurry through life. Your day will not finish till it’s over. Hurrying through the day will not make the sun set faster. And some days are longer than others, summer vs. winter. Some lives are longer than others. While you do not want to hurry through life, neither do you want to waste it. Every hour God gives you is for a reason. God does not give you spare time.
The night of death will come when you will not be able to work. You will not be able to get yourself right with God. You will not be able to talk to that son or daughter about living for Christ or share the Gospel with that lost friend. Your day will be over.
Jesus was just two months from his death when he asked the question. He knew what hour it was. He saw the sun sinking on the horizon. He was going to put in his full day’s work. What about you? Are you going to put in a full day’s work? Night is coming.
Ever experienced this? You go out to eat with your family. It’s a nice restaurant, more expensive than usual. You get into an argument at the table, and you spend a lot of money for a miserable time. It would have been cheaper to have that argument at McDonald’s.
Proverbs 15:17 states, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” The message is about relationships. They matter. They matter more than expensive food. Husbands and wives and parents sometimes forget that.
Relationships matter in the church. Jesus prayed that the church “may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me . May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23).
How do we let the world know that God sent His Son into the world? Big events and “Christian” entertainment? Advertising? Jesus said all it takes is relationship - complete unity and love. When the world sees unity and genuine love, it will get their attention.
So show up, speak up, and build up. Show up in the assembly on the first day of the week. Be there for the luncheons. Show up for studies. Speak up. Tell others the great things God has done. Speak positively about your brothers and sisters in Christ. And build up. Use your gifts to build up the Body of Christ. Don’t wait to be asked - volunteer.
One of the best meals I ever had was under a tree, with paper plates, no eating utensils, consisting of rice and beans. It was in the hills outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. What was so outstanding? I shared it with Christians who demonstrated great love for one another.
A casting call goes out for the school play. A hundred students show up to audition for 15 roles. And as Jesus said, “For many are called but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14).
When it comes to salvation, the church, and eternal life, some might think that doesn’t sound right. Surely, Jesus chooses everyone who shows up. But no, he doesn’t. He calls everyone but he doesn’t choose everyone who shows up. The Book of Revelation states that Jesus “is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (17:14).
You see commercials on TV about “Make a decision for Jesus. Say this simple prayer.” The implication is that you have the power to decide your eternal destiny. So some live their lives without any regard for following the Lord and hope they can make a “thief on the cross” entrance into heaven. But the question is not, “Will you choose Jesus?” The real question is, “Will Jesus choose you?” If you doubt that, listen to the words of Jesus: “The Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it” ( John 5:21).
Some people say they want Jesus but all they want is a free pass to heaven or some answer to their prayer. They don’t want him. They don’t know him. They don’t follow him. They want what he can do for them, but they don’t want him.
Who does Jesus choose? Those who love him. If you don’t follow him, you don’t love him. “I know my sheep and my sheep know me— My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:14, 27).
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” - Jesus
There is a lot we can learn from Jesus in Matthew 7:5. For one thing, it is easier to see someone else’s faults than our own. It has been my experience that people who have a lot to say about other people’s problems do it to avoid dealing with their own. And when it comes to the church, those outside of it see plenty wrong. I usually hear it put this way, “The church is full of hypocrites.”
That criticism has never bothered me. Of course the church has hypocrites in it. Where do members come from? The world. It is the hypocrites of the world who are converted. It takes time to mature them into the image of Christ.
People who focus on everyone else’s shortcomings have little time left to focus on their own. So Jesus is basically saying, if I could paraphrase that verse, OWN YOUR OWN STUFF. You have plenty to work on. Stop blaming others for the reason you have your problems. Your problems are your responsibility. Own them; they are yours. And do something about them.
Notice that Jesus did not say we are not to help remove the speck from someone else’s eye; we have a responsibility to help. But the order is critical here: first work on your yourself and then you will see how to help your brother or sister.