The story is told of a traveler, who one day was walking along a lane. As he was walking he noticed 3 stonecutters working in a quarry. Each was busy cutting a block of stone. Interested to find out what they were working on, he asked the first stonecutter what he was doing. “I am cutting a stone!” Still no wiser the traveler turned to the second stonecutter and asked him what he was doing. “I am cutting this block of stone to make sure that it’s square, and its dimensions are uniform, so that it will fit exactly in its place in a wall.” A bit closer to finding out what the stonecutters were working on but still unclear, the traveler turned to the third stonecutter. He seemed to be the happiest of the three and when asked what he was doing replied: “I am building a cathedral.”
Just like the different stonecutters, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily details of our lives without seeing God’s bigger picture. This is especially true as we are coming out of a difficult and challenging year. Thankfully the Bible, God’s word to us gives us all the perspective we need! This morning we are going to meet two women who made it into the pages of the Scripture, not because of some awesome they did but because they couldn’t get along! Somewhere along the line they lost sight of the bigger picture. Let’s take a look…
Philippians 4:2-7 (NLT)
We don’t know much about these two ladies. This is the first and last time that we hear of them in Scripture. Most likely, they were friends of Paul because he said they “worked hard with me in telling others the Good News.” Paul just sounds frustrated here. Why? Because their disagreement was starting to cause division in the church. Perhaps people were starting to take sides as they took on each of their offenses. This was distracting them from their mission of telling others about God and sadly, may have even started to damage their witness for Christ in the community around them.
So, what were they fighting about? The Bible doesn’t actually tell us and you know what that means? It probably wasn’t all that important! It’s not like they were fighting about whether Jesus was God or not? That would have been really serious. If it was 2021 it may have been a heated disagreement on whether you should wear masks or not! Maybe there was a disagreement over how loud the worship music was. Whatever it was that was going on, they couldn’t get past it. And so Paul asks one of the leaders in the church to step in to help them resolve the conflict. Notice here that Paul doesn’t take a side, but gives them what I would say is a BIGGER PICTURE PERSPECTIVE…
“They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.”
What exactly is the book of life? The Book of Life is the book where God records the names of all those who will live forever with Him in heaven. It’s the names of the redeemed. There is nothing on this planet more important than having your sins forgiven and entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ!
According to Revelation 20:15 it’s really serious that your name be in the Book of Life because, “anyone whose name is not found recorded in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire.” The good news is that we are also told in the Bible that once our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life that nothing could ever remove, erase or blot them out! (John 10:28, Revelation 3:5)
This is the big picture that God wants us each to get…once we get this, everything else falls into place. What’s the big picture? Is your name written in the Lambs Book of Life? 100 years from now that’s the only thing that will matter. Did you give your life to serve Jesus Christ or not? Did you live for Him or for yourself?
Each and every person on this planet is on a collision course with eternity. Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Elon Musk, the person who makes your coffee at Starbucks each morning…your family, friends, YOU & ME…we will all reside for all eternity in one of 2 places, heaven or hell. The real question then becomes, have you accepted God’s gracious invitation for salvation?
Here’s a helpful resource, very similar to the one my Dad shared with me the morning I gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ as a 10-year-old boy. Today can be the day that God forever changes your life as you surrender your heart to Him. That’s the big picture!