Proclaim. Mobilize. Equip.
Call 866-865-6253

Appearances Are Deceptive

April 24, 2020

“Lord, what about him?” John 21:21

There is a great story about a Rabbi who grew tired of hearing about other people’s troubles. In his small town everybody knew everybody else’s business and there were no secrets.

One day the Rabbi made an announcement: “Next week I want everybody to write their troubles on pieces of rock and place them in a sack. Everyone will bring his or her sack to the synagogue, and we will leave them here for the whole weekend. Then on Monday you can choose which sack of troubles you would like to take home.”

Everybody agreed and the next Friday evening, there was a pile of sacks filled with rocks in the synagogue. Everyone enjoyed the weekend.

On Monday morning the Rabbi got up early and watched from his window. The people gathered in front of the sacks and looked at them and picked them up and weighed them, but eventually each one picked up his or her own sack and went home.

Be careful when you find yourself wishing you could live another person’s life. Appearances are deceptive. There are rocks in the other man’s sack that you wouldn’t want to carry.

If you find yourself wishing that you could have another person’s life, you have to include that person’s eternal reward, or perhaps the lack of it. Jesus said that the first will be last and the last will be first. If that’s true, you need to be careful about who you want to change places with.

Jesus calls you to follow Him, without conditions, and without comparisons. “What is that to you? You must follow me.”

Is there someone you’ve wanted to trade places with who might have more rocks in his or her bag than you were aware of?


The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the President and Teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.



Explore this topic further

Non-Invasive Faith

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46 (NIV) Suppose you go to the doctor, and he diagnoses some serious condition. He says to you “This will need treatment, and there are two ways we can go about this… the first is...

Read Post
For your gift of any amount

Listener Favorites 2020

The most requested sermons from the past year

Get Unlocking the Bible's Weekly Email

"This Week at Unlocking the Bible" features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.

Share Your Story and Prayer Requests

If you have a testimony or story you would like to share or if you have a prayer request, please use the form below. If you would like someone from our staff to call you, please include your phone number.

We will never sell or misuse your information.

Learn more about resources
to help you face the current crisis and begin living courageously.

Get Unlocking the Bible’s Weekly Email

“This Week at Unlocking the Bible” features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.