Some people are amazing. A few years ago for Christmas, my son Adam was given the Guinness Book of World Records. As you know, this book details the feats of some pretty unusual people. For days Adam sat mesmerized with this book, speaking only periodically, and then only one-word sentences like “Cool!” or “Wow!” or “Gross!”
Finally my curiosity got the best of me and I joined him on the couch to see exactly what was so amazing. And these people are truly incredible. We saw such riveting accomplishments as the longest time spent balancing on one foot (76 hours and 40 minutes), the greatest distance covered on a pogo stick (23 miles 182 yards); the longest time spent completely motionless (18 hours 5 minutes and 50 seconds). Actually, I wouldn’t have minded my kids attempting that particular record.
And then there were records that actually meant something. Records that were the end result of a lifetime of hard work – like in basketball. The highest point average record goes to Michael Jordan with an average of 30.12 points scored in every game. The fastest man to run the 100-meter race is Usain Bolt at 9.58 seconds. And the fastest ever tennis service by a woman is Venus Williams with a speed of 129.0 miles per hour. This book is just a gold mine of facts and figures of the incredible. Many people spend a lot of energy trying to become known for the “unbelievable,” the “miraculous.” Makes me think of our reading for today.
Jesus was laying the groundwork for what we can expect when His second coming is near. Earlier in this chapter, Jesus said that there will be numerous wars, famines and earthquakes. He warned that as a believer in Him, we will be persecuted and hated. And in verse 14 He said that finally all the nations of the world will hear the Good News of the Gospel. But there is one warning that Jesus gave in verse 11 of this chapter that He repeats again in verse 24.
For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great miraculous signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. Matthew 24:24
False prophets trying to deceive even God’s chosen ones. That’s you and me – anyone who has given control of their life to God. Don’t be fooled into thinking we are immune to the charisma of a “false prophet.” Anytime our eyes are not focused upward on God, you can be guaranteed they’re focused outward on man.
Many years ago, George Orwell, the famous author of the novel, 1984, made an acute observation of humans. He said, "When men stop worshiping God, they promptly start worshiping man – with disastrous results." Yes, even we, who have known what it is to truly worship Almighty God, can lose that intimacy if we allow our gaze to be averted – to move from the vertical to the horizontal.
There’s a song we used to sing in church that I still can’t get out of my mind. It’s called, The Heart of Worship, and it beautifully reminds us all exactly where our focus should be. The chorus says “I’m coming back to the heart of worship ‘cause it’s all about You. I’m sorry, Lord, for the things I’ve made it when it’s all about You, all about You, Jesus.”
People can do some pretty amazing things, but one thing they can never do is be God. There’s only One Eternal God. And He does love you. He did die for you. And He is coming back for you.
If you’re ready for Him.
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