Summary: This message talks about how to get out of the many ditches we find ourselves in. Unstuck yourself and get back on track!
How to Get Out of the Ditch
Have you ever felt stuck? Maybe you’ve been stuck in a conversation with someone that you couldn’t get out of. Maybe you’ve been stuck in the same grade for a couple of years. Maybe you’ve been stuck in a mundane, ordinary job that you don’t enjoy. Maybe you’ve been stuck in a spiritual rut where you’re just doing the same things over and over and you’re not really moving forward.
Let me tell you about a time when I got stuck…not metaphorically, but literally STUCK in the mud. About a month ago, we were preparing to put porcelain tile down in our kitchen. One of the things we had to do to get the floor ready for the tile was to pull up the old linoleum. So we were pulling up the old linoleum and taking out of the back of my house to put it in my truck so we could haul it off. Well, we made one trip to the dumpster and came back to load up some more. I drove in my driveway and was heading to the back yard in what little bit of grass we do have on the land on the right side of our house. Well, it had rained a day or two before and it gets a bit muddy on that side, so as I was driving through, I felt the tires start to slip and spin and I wasn’t moving. Now I’ve never been stuck in the mud before so I thought if I could just put it in reverse, I might could get out. That didn’t work. Then I thought, “what if I try to rock it back and forth by going from reverse to drive and back?” That seemed to work for a little bit and I inched forward about two feet. But as I kept trying to work my way forward, I sank back into the hole I made when I first started. And after trying and praying and spinning my wheels, all I got was a big mess in my yard and mud all over my truck.
It’s no fun being stuck. You feel frustrated. You feel like you can’t do anything to get out. You feel helpless.
And I think the feeling’s even worse when you’ve done all that you know to do and you’re still in the same old mess.
I think that’s how a certain lady in the New Testament must have felt. She was stuck in this place called Sickness. She had this disease for twelve years. The kind of disease doesn’t matter so much as what she went through to try to get out of it. She had gone to doctor after doctor after doctor. She didn’t have any insurance and she spent every dime she had on these doctors visits, but she didn’t get any better. In fact, she got worse. Talk about being stuck. She did everything she knew to do and she was still stuck in that same old mess.
I think that’s how Peter must have felt. He was stuck in this place called Guilt. He had been on tour with Jesus for three years, hanging with Jesus backstage, runnin’ Jesus’ errands, and watching Jesus perform mighty miracles. Peter was one of Jesus’ top 3 roadies. But when it came to standing up for Jesus when everyone had turned their back on him, Peter left him high and dry. Peter was hanging out in the streets and somebody recognized him and said, “aren’t you one of Jesus’ homeboys?” And Peter answered, “Nope.” In fact, he was so adamant that he denied knowing Jesus not once, but three times. And at that point he knew he had messed up, so he went back to what he knew to do, fishing. And you can imagine the guilt he must have felt from turning his back on Jesus.
Then there was another young man in the New Testament who was also in a mess. He was stuck in this place called Greed.
Mark 10: 17-21 NIV 17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ’Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’"
20"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."