500 years ago, 500 Spanish soldiers led by Hernan Cortes landed on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Their mission was to explore, make treaties with the locals, establish trade routes, and settle the land for their country. This was an incredible opportunity for a new life, a new start for these individuals.
However, they faced significant challenges in accomplishing their mission. This was the third expedition in recent years and the previous two had failed. They were hundreds of miles away from their home base in Cuba. And thousands of miles and an ocean away from their home in Spain. The inhabitants of the land spoke other languages and often translation was not possible. Some tribes were hostile and attacked the Spaniards. One of these tribes was the powerful Aztec empire- led by the legendary Montezuma- one of the largest and most powerful civilizations in the world. This was a civilization known for unspeakable brutality and human sacrifice.
Cortez- knowing the long odds they faced in settling the land and the ever present temptation of retreat to safety, had to do something. He lined up his men on the shore in view of his 11 ships and gave the infamous order to “Burn the Ships”. There was no going back to the safety of Cuba or Spain- not on Cortez’s watch. He knew that if retreat is an option, it is an inevitability. So he removed any option of retreat. From that point forward, the men exhibited a new mentality. They made treaties with the friendly tribes and went on to defeat the mighty Montezuma and accomplish their mission.
This story resonates with us today because it is a striking illustration of what true determination looks like. A couple months ago, a team of archaeologists found what they believe to be anchors from these ships. Recently the popular Christian group For King and Country released a song based on this story called “Burn the Ships” in 2018. They used the story as an analogy of what it looks like to follow Christ and put the past behind.
The Christian life is one full of adversity and we have to make the decision of what we will do in the face of that adversity. Will we grow faint-hearted? Or go off-mission in pursuit of easier paths? I don’t use the term adversity lightly. I’ve been wrestling with this issue personally over the last few months. Exactly one year ago today, our little boy Joshua went home to be with the LORD. I know where he is, and I am at peace with the way God answered our prayers- but that doesn’t take the sting of missing him away. These types of trials have the potential to dishearten us and convince us to quit. I know that we all go through severe trials of different kinds. The longer we live, the more likely it is that we’ve experienced severe heartache. And all of us have more trials in our future. So what can we do practically speaking to weather these storms of life when they hit? Galatians 6:7-10 has some welcome answers for us.
This weekend we will be looking at three things we can do to have a bountiful life, according to this passage. Please join us this Sunday morning, 10:15 am at Christ Community Church to explore as we look at these three keys that will help us through the challenges of life.
Don’t forget that our clocks spring forward this weekend- otherwise you may miss the message! Also keep in mind that our Brazilian sister-church will be serving lunch following the service. Donations are welcome and go towards funding their ministry.
God bless you! Have a great weekend, and stay healthy out there!