Mr Chippy was his name. He was a central figure in my boyhood, and for good reason. For Mr Chippy was the purveyor of a vast emporium of delights. Mr Chippy ran our local fish and chip van, brimful of an endless menu of fried pleasure.
My father was well aware of the pull that Mr Chippy’s store of goodies had on young boys and was not shy about utilising it as a motivational tool. On several occasions we would find ourselves trudging slowly home across the moor on a trek from the hills or coast and as fatigue sank in drifting off course and losing pace. It was at this point that he deployed his motivational strategy.
“What can I buy you when we get to Mr Chippy’s?”
Soon our pace picked up, the valleys were raised up, mountains and hills made low, and yeah, verily, the rough ground became level! Our vision turned to steak pies and fried fish, chips smothered in salt and vinegar. Soon our pace picked up and for the joy set before us, endured the bog and the bracken, exhaustion, and agony until we reached our heavenly goal.
So, what has this to do with our theme this week, or anything else, for that matter?
Fix your eyes on Jesus
The book of Hebrews is our focus. Written to seasoned Christians undergoing persecution and social pressure. Some were abandoning faith and fellowship. This post lockdown not-yet-normal time has many resonances with the experience of those who were being addressed in Hebrews.
The temptation is to bail out when the knuckle screws of disappointment and discouragement are tightened up high. Perseverance and patience are the Christian virtues no one really wants but appear to be high on the list of God’s current plan for us.
It seems to me that this is a time for us to cultivate spiritual grit and determination. Hebrews points us to the vision that feeds endurance:
“Fix your eyes on Jesus” (Heb 12:2)
“For the joy set before him endured the cross”
This message calls us to look up to Christ and to look forward to meeting him and hearing his “well done” as we cross the finishing line of life.
I wonder how you go about “considering Jesus”, making the vision of him central, perhaps you have learned ways of calling to mind the joy that is set before us as we persist? Why not let us know or share with a friend what helps you to press on.