9 I, John, your brother, who share with you the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus, found myself on the island called Patmos because I proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus.
10 I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet,
11 which said, “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
12 Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands
13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest.
17 When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last,
18 the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.
19 Write down, therefore, what you have seen, and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards. – Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-9 N.A.B.
In reflecting on this reading I am reminded of a story about Shelly, a young professional woman, who was having car trouble.
Briefcase in hand, Shelly aimed a frustrated kick at the front tire of her shiny red BMW. She turned away from her car, glared angrily at rush hour traffic and wondered how long it would take AAA to arrive. She felt her face flush at the thought of being late for another board meeting.
Within minutes the AAA Roadside Assistance van arrived. The driver said, “Miss, did you call for assistance?”
“This stupid key fob isn’t working. I can’t get into my car and I’m going to be late for an important meeting!”
“Can I see your key fob?”
Wiping beads of perspiration from her forehead, she handed him the key fob and watched him insert the key into the door lock and open the door. She smiled sheepishly and thanked him profusely. Now thoroughly embarrassed Shelly sped away thinking, I’m never going to tell anyone about this incident!
What was her real obstacle? Shelly lost sight of her goal. She needed to get to the board meeting, but the key fob battery was dead. When the dime sized fob battery failed she became distracted and forgot that the key fob had a built-in key – a key to be used in the event of battery failure. The means to open the car door and get to the board meeting on time was in her hand all along.
I wonder how many times I have kicked the front tire of my life’s vehicle in frustration at my own inadequacies, or because things weren’t going according to my plan? How many times have I become sidetracked and lost sight of the objective – that of spending eternity with our Lord? It’s deceptively easy to get off target in a society that is fixed on worldly possessions; in a technology driven culture; in a country with a warped sense of values; in a world that seems to be in apostasy.