St Johns Fl Presbyterian ChurchIn Jules Verne’s novel, The Mysterious Island, he writes of five men who escaped a Civil War prison camp by hijacking a hot air balloon. As they rise into the air, they realize the wind is carrying them over the ocean. As the hours pass and the surface of the ocean draws closer, the men decide they must cast some of the weight overboard because they have no way to heat the air in the balloon. Shoes, overcoats, and weapons are reluctantly discarded, and the uncomfortable aviators feel their balloon rise. But as they find themselves dangerously close to the waves again, they cast their food overboard and then cut away the basket beneath them and now only sitting on the ropes that held the basket. Again, with less weight, the balloon rises again. Not a minute too soon, they spot land. The five jump into the water and swim to the island.

They are alive because they were able to discern the difference between what was really needed and what was not. The “necessities” they thought they couldn’t live without were the very weights that almost cost them their lives.

Friend, do you have some things that might be slowing you down? What would your life be like without them? If you eliminated them, would you have more time for the things in your life that really matter? The Bible instructs us: “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely….” (Hebrews 12:1).

Let us pray: Caring God, how much we need the assurance of your presence and help. We are tired and discouraged. We feel weighted down by the burdens of life. So inscribe in our hearts the words of your prophet: God gives power to the faint, and strength to the powerless. Even the young will faint and be weary, and the youth will fall exhausted, but those who wait for God shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31). Mindful of this promise, we can now welcome this day and make it a masterpiece. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Roger Kunkel

Daily Message Author: Roger Kunkel

(November 24, 1934 – June 29, 2011) Rev. Dr. Roger Kunkel was a native of Parsons, Kansas, graduated from Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, where he received an award for “Outstanding Student and Citizen”. After graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary, he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois, and went on to serve as Senior Pastor in Duluth, Minnesota, and Riverside, Illinois. He served as Chaplain of Heritage Park Rehab Center in Bradenton, Florida, after retiring from his pastorate at First Presbyterian Church of Sarasota in 1998