"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
In February 1519 Hernando Cortez set sail on the final leg of a voyage from Cuba to the shores of the Yucatan in Mexico. The story of this particular voyage had started years prior to this trip as Cortez had spend a tremendous amount of time searching for and persuading men to accompany him on this journey. You see, Cortez was convinced great treasure awaited those who were willing to take the risk to go in and conquer.
Cortez successfully convinced nearly 600 ordinary soldiers and sailors that indeed, "They could do it!". And so, together they set sail. Once on the ocean a good number of the faithful "lost their faith". As motivational speaker Andy Andrews remarks, "There are always whiners." Cortez made it to Cuba where he rested the still faithful and let the quitters get off the ship. Next stop - Mexico!
As the group finally landed on the shores of the Yucatan, Cortez began his "motivational seminar" with the remaining crew of "Average Joe's". He complimented their courage and reminded them of the vast treasures that awaited their taking. They were "psyched"! As they prepared to move on in for the final conquest, Cortez gave one more directive. Legend tells us that he leaned in and said three simple words, "Burn the boats." Can't you hear the gasps? Burn the boats? "Yes," he repeated, "because if we are going home, we are going home in their boats." And he torched them. By burning his own boats, Cortez took his army of ordinary men to a whole new level. Boy did they fight! And boy did they win! For the first time in six centuries the wealth in that part of the world changed hands.
The Apostle Paul knew something about "burning the boats." He knew that he would never be totally surrendered to his Lord if he kept looking back at "Plan B." For Paul, turning back was not an option. Actually even looking back was not an option.
Face forward, straight ahead. The treasures of a heavenly kingdom await. Are you willing?
Burn the boats!