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Cal Jernigan – Senior Pastor

What would you rather go to hell with, than heaven without? Think about it.

You see, all they had to do was let go. Simply release it. Just let it go. Forget about it and move on.

But no. They weren’t going to do it. They treasured it too much.

Because they wouldn’t let it go it cost them their lives. How sad. How common. Their choice was to hold on even if it meant they would perish.

Blue crabs. That’s what I’m talking about. You know, the creatures with the claws, the hard shell, the funny looking eyes and the even funnier walk. Those guys. The one is the picture.

While most people would never claim to relate to the life of a crab, I’ve discovered a similarity between us and them is a bit unnerving. It’s just a little too close for comfort. Let me explain.

On our vacation this summer Lisa and I spent some time in Maryland. We were invited by a wonderful couple from Central who have a summer home there. It was an offer that was simply too good to pass up. So off we trekked to Maryland. It was a great call and these folks were simply fantastic to be with. But I digress.

While “What we did on our summer vacation” surely wouldn’t be of interest to you, I’ve been asked a number of times what was one of the coolest things we did. This is easy to answer. This is where crabs enter the story.

Our friends live on Chesapeake Bay and they know people who make their living in the crabbing business. They know “crabbers.” Because they suspected Lisa and I would love it, they arranged for us to spend some time in the bay on a crabbing boat. We went “crabbing”.

How they catch these crabs left Lisa and me fascinated. Here’s the short version. They take about a thousand foot piece of rope and put weights along the rope to cause it to sink. On each end is a huge float which allows the crabber to locate it. But on the rope, every 5-6 feet, is a little loop where they attach bait. The bait was either a chicken neck or a little mesh bag of razor clams. So now picture in your mind a long rope along the bottom of the ocean that has lots of bait on it and you’ve got the idea. Along come the crabs and they grab the bait.

So after just a short time, the crabber returns and begins the process of pulling up the line. What happens is the line runs over a pulley as the boat moves along the line, pulling it up from the bottom. As the bait rises, the crabs rise with it. They hit the pulley and are knocked off into a basket where they are collected. Not exactly “The Deadliest Catch”, but you get the picture.

But here’s the real catch… all the crabs need to do to keep on living is simply let go. Let go before it’s too late. Let go before they are forced let go by hitting the pulley. The pulley and the collection basket go together. If you hit the pulley, you’re history. Let go before you end up in the basket. It’s that simple. But they don’t let go.

And this, my friends, is how you catch the crabs that allow you to have that marvelous Maryland crab feast with your friends. They simply refused to release the bait. Unlike fishing, they weren’t hooked against their will… rather they hooked themselves by refusing to let go.

So what does this have to do with us? Jesus said it this way,

“If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Matthew 5:29-30

Let me assure you Jesus wasn’t advocating bodily mutilation. What he was challenging are those things that we hold on to when we’re better off letting go. While being set free would be “salvation”, we instead choose death.

So here’s the tough question:  What would you rather go to hell with than heaven without?

An illicit relationship? Porn? A grudge? Hatred? Jealousy? Envy? Pride? Stuff?

Whatever it is, it simply isn’t worth it. Let it go. Stop holding on to that which Christ died to release you of.

Don’t be a crab.

Don’t Be a Crab!

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