What does the classic book by Jules Verne have to do with a passage in Hebrews?
[Steve Myers] At the beginning of Hebrews 12, it gives us a metaphor to help really visualize our calling. One of the things it says in Hebrews 12, we'll write this down so we can remember exactly where this is. In Hebrews 12:1 Hebrews 12:1Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
American King James Version×, here's what it says, "Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us." That's part of what verse 1 says there in Hebrews 12. And I was reminded about that particular metaphor in a book I had to read way back in high school. This particular verse reminds me of that book.
It's a book by Jules Verne, and it's called "The Mysterious Island." Maybe you've read it before. But it tells the story of five men who have been captured in the Civil War, and they try to escape from their imprisonment. Well, what they end up doing is they end up stealing a hot air balloon, and they start floating up away from this prison camp. And it seems like everything is great. They've got supplies, they've got weapons, they've got everything they could possibly need for this escape. Well, what they didn't plan for is the fact the balloon floats over the ocean, and now they're in trouble because there's no way to keep that air hot in the balloon. And so as they're floating over the ocean, it begins to sink. Now what are they gonna do? Well, they decide we've got to get rid of some of this weight. So they start throwing off their coats. They say, "Well, we can live without that." Well, that keeps them steady for a little bit, but then they continue to sink. Now what?
Well, now they start throwing off other clothes they don't need, they throw off their shoes. The balloon stabilizes for a little longer, but they still continue to sink closer and closer to the waves. Now they've got to throw over the food. Now what are they gonna do? So they throw the food over. Stabilizes the balloon for a little bit more, but they're in a war. Now what can they do as this balloon continues to sink? They have to throw away the weapons. So there goes the weapons into the ocean, but it doesn't ultimately help. They're continuing to sink. Do you know what they do next? The only thing that's possible to get rid of next is the basket itself. So they untie the basket, it falls into the ocean, and they retie the ropes, and they're hanging on and trying to sit and stand on these ropes as this balloon continues to descend. Well, as the story goes, it can't stay afloat, and so it ends up falling. But just before they hit the water, they see this island off in the distance. So the balloon ends up going into the water, and there's this island that they can swim to, and that's the mysterious island that Jules Verne writes about.
Now, they wouldn't have survived to even make it to that island if they couldn't see the difference from what was a necessity and what was something that was a want. Well, they wanted those weapons, they wanted that food. But in order to even survive, they had to decide what was most critical, most important. And I believe that's what Hebrews 12 is telling us. Do we know the difference between wants and needs? Are there things that are weighing us down spiritually that we need to cast off? We need to throw it overboard just like those things those soldiers really didn't need to survive. And it can mean the difference between life and death. If they would've hung on to the weapons, or the food, or the clothes, they would have died and never made it to the island.
And it's the same for us. We've got to cast off those things that drag us down, the sin that ensnares us, so, ultimately, we can make it to the goal, ultimately, that we can come before Christ and God the Father can give us eternal life. So don't let things weigh you down. Examine your life. Look at the balloon of your life that you're floating in and really determine what is it that weighs me down. And let's follow that instruction that we're given in Hebrews 12 and cast off the weight.
That's BT Daily. We'll see you next time.