One of the warning signs along our way.
(Too bad they didn’t have signs to warn about sore muscles for out of shape people!)
There were many warnings along our hiking trails, from warnings about bears, falling rocks, to dangerous paths. They are meant to help preserve life! Some people disregard them as not being important. When a mother grizzly bear and two of her cubs came along an open area and were eating, a whole group of people were within fifty yards of the bears gathering together and taking pictures, not seeming to be worried about a potential attack. Maybe they were too desensitized from watching TV, and seeing the animals up close there. Fortunately at that time and when the black bear we saw up close went away without incident, life was preserved.
In Mark 9:42-48(NASB95), Jesus gives clear warnings as well, but with far greater importance. Yes, both deal with potential loss of life, but Jesus is dealing with where you will spend eternity. He warns those following Him:
43 “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,
44 [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.]
45 “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell,
46 [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.]
47 “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell,
48 where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.
Jesus is clearly warning them, do not allow the things of this world to cause you to lose life with Him for eternity. There is the worst kind of danger in this world, that replaces life with God, with something far less, and the consequence is something we can not comprehend. Jesus used words that would have meaning for the people at that time. It spoke of eternal separation from God and torment. Nothing in this life apart from God is worth that.
Is a picture of a Grizzly close up worth the loss of your life, or one of your children standing by you? Is the climbing of a certain mountain worth the risk of life, for those moments of adrenaline rush? Are the fleeting pleasures of this world, worth the eternal separation waiting for the lost. What is all this, “what is best for me” going to do for you? God knows what is best for you! It is Jesus, and Him alone! Listen to the warnings. Turn from your desires and seek after Him. Jesus is everything. He is all in all. Hopefully we will get the message. And we need to relay this message to others.
This world is dangerous, and we need one another. There were signs that warned of the danger of bears and the need to travel in groups of at least four, and to make plenty of noise as you travel.
This is the one black bear we saw. The grizzly and her two cubs were much farther away. But the danger could have been right around the next bend. We need to walk this life together. Each of us need to be reminded, to stop fussing about ourselves and get pointed to Jesus. The more we travel as a group the better it is. Don’t get off the path!
Watching the signs,