Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 5: The Rope Of Eternity

Key Text

"Don't you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win." 1 Corinthians 9:24 WEB


Frances Chan uses a great object lesson is some of his sermons. It is a powerful lesson, especially when done by yourself rather than just seeing or hearing it. So grab a piece of rope if you have on handy, if not picture one in your mind. To do the illustration for yourself, take a piece of long rope, at least 20 feet or 6 meters if possible. This works best if you can stretch the rope out in a straight line. If you are unable that is OK, stretch it out as much as you can. Now grab the very end of the rope so that only a few inches stick past your hand. In other words, hold the rope just a few inches from the end. Do you have it? Look at the rest of the rope. Now look back at the part of the rope in your hand.

Chan compares the rope to a timeline of our life. The few inches of rope between the end and your hand represents our life hear on earth. The rest of the rope represents eternity! Think about this for a minute. Our short time on earth is just a tiny amount of the millions of years of eternity! Chan says, "What blows me away is that some of you, all you think about is [those first few inches]. Its all you think about, your consumed with it." How can we be so short sighted?

Paul gives some very critical advice in 1 Cor. 9:24-27. This is where he likens our life on earth to a race. He points out that we should run in such a way that we will receive the prize of eternal life. We need to stay as focused as someone training for the biggest race of their life to make sure that in the end we are not disqualified.

Like the short amount of rope in hand, we often get distracted with worries of this life. We are concerned about getting a new pair of nice shoes or the newest smartphone. When we grow up we can get completely focused on making money or saving enough for retirement. We need to keep perspective. Our childhood or adulthood is only a couple inches of rope compared to eternity! Psalms 103:15 says our lives are like blades of grass that are hear today and gone tomorrow. What we do in this short, short life determines how we will spend eternity. Remember that every time you grab a piece of rope.


What are some specific things we can do in our life to make sure we are running our best to reach heaven?

How can we stay focused on eternity and avoid getting distracted by this short life?

What types of things distract you?

What types of things motivate you to stay focused on the race for heaven?


Frances Chan "What Are You Living For?" Rope Illustration, produced by Nate Hanson,

Apr 1, 2010

Written by David F. Garner

Photo Credit: David F. Garner