Once upon a time, before we were missionaries, we were in youth ministry. We have some lingering side effects of having spent so many years with teenagers, and one of them is that we are always on the look-out for great sermon illustrations and object lessons. Kids remember stories and illustrations more than anything.
So one day I was surfing around on youtube for good illustrations and I found a simple, but profound illustration by author and preacher Francis Chan. In this illustration, Francis uses a really long rope. One end of the rope has about 6 inches of red tape wrapped around the end. Holding up the red tape, Francis begins to talk about our time on Earth. He lists all the things that tend to occupy our thoughts and concerns as we pass through our brief time on Earth.
This red part of the rope represents our time here on Earth. And all the rest of the rope represents eternity. We have a very brief moment called “Time” and we spend the majority of our energies concentrating on the things that are only relative to this little section called Time. Comparatively speaking, we spend a very small amount of time and energy thinking about things that relate to eternity. This is a profound and shocking illustration… and it actually saved my husband’s life.
When Josh and the team from California went to the tribe and got caught on the wrong side of the flash-flooded river, my husband happened to have the rope from this illustration in the back of his car! When the water level rose from knee height to arm pit height in a matter of minutes and loose bolders and trees pounded their way downstream, the missionaries strung the rope across the river and tied each end to one car on each bank. Using the rope, the last members of the team and Josh were able to cross the river in the nick of time. So I like to say that Francis Chan saved my husband’s life with his rope illustration. A good illustration can be worth more than we realize!
This is a 6 minute illustration… a POWERFUL 6 minute illustration… that just might change your life today and your eternity forever. Watch it!