I stood in that line for 90 minutes with my family waiting to get on that ride. I wonder how many times did I see that sign. I wonder how many times I heard that message. But I was enjoying myself, laughing and joking, in anticipation of getting on that ride. I wasn’t worried about my phone. It was secure in my pocket.
Finally, the moment arrived. One more time I saw the sign. One more time I heard the message. One more time my hand felt my phone safe and secure in my pocket. I climb in the seat.
Seat belt on? Check! Strap around me? Check! Seat bar latched in place? Check! Phone secure? Must be because now I can’t move.
Slowly the seat glides backwards until you are lying flat looking at the sky. The ride begins moving, slowly up a hill. Suddenly you crest the hill and are violently flipped over and find yourself suspended over a pool of water as you soar like Superman around the track. You soar up and down hills in a crazed frenzy.
But before the ride stopped I knew it was gone. My empty pocket testified to that fact when I exited the ride. Gone were my contacts. Gone were my photos. Gone were my emails. Gone was the ability to contact my wife and tell her of the stupid thing I had done. All gone.
I tried to blame the amusement park. The should have warned me more. They should have put the bins in clearer sight. I tried to blame my family. If they had not been talking so much and laughing perhaps I would have heard the warnings. But I knew that I was without excuse. I would have to face the wrath of the one who purchased the phone for me.
We often treat our lives this way. We tuck what we want in life deep within ourselves and convince ourselves that all is well. We read where Jesus said “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” and we choose to ignore it. We choose to seek out what makes us happy, demanding the right to do so. After all don’t we have the right to be happy? And in doing so, we refuse to place our lives in the safety of his hands and the Gospel suffers because of it.
We hear the warnings of God’s messengers on Sundays but decide to ignore the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we leave unchanged as if we were never in his presence. Instead, we tuck our lives even deeper within ourselves refusing to share the Good News of Jesus by our actions and uncaring attitude.
We party hardy going through life until an event hits us that flattens us on our backs. We find ourselves strapped down by financial problems, health issues, broken families, other things. We feel as if life’s burdens has suddenly clamped down on us causing us to feel trapped. We are taken on a violent ride that whips us about and we have no control over the situation.
And when it is done we discover that we have suffered great losses. Perhaps our relationships have become strained, our memories of joy have become clouded, our prayer life is suffering, and we are struggling to connect with that one person who can restore our hope.
Sure we want to blame others. “God should have come through for me. People should have been more understanding.” But all the responsibility for our actions lies on no ones shoulders but our own. The Bible says we are without excuse. We know what we should be doing with our finances and time. We also know that the day will come when we will have to stand in judgment for actions.
When I found my wife that day I put on my “pity” face and it worked. She knew I was sorry for being careless and she chose to forgive me. She even got me another phone. I will take much better care of this one.
Today you can go to Jesus and confess that you have been living a selfish life. You can confess that you have not been as giving as you should be. You can ask for a new life. And He has promised that He will give it to you. Just take better care of this one. I know the next time I will heed the warnings and put my phone in safe hands. I do that today with my life also.
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Joe Rowland on Feb 2, 2009
Have you ever found it hard to give to what you want to do? Most people will do what they want and forget what the Word of God says to do. We have to learn to die to self. We need to learn to walk in the Spirit that we do not fulfill the lust of the flesh