Time Out: Hold the rope!

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

(The following was written for the people in the church my father pastors, but applies to youth workers as well. As you read this, he is currently in India training hundreds of pastors.)

I was great fan of cowboy westerns when I was growing up. I would listen to them on the radio and watch them on TV. I had a stack of comic books about cowboys. I loved how the good guy always won the day and made everything right. Sometimes he handled the situation alone, other times he had some who helped him – but he always succeeded to do what he set out to do.

One of my favorite scenarios involved a young child or fair maiden who wandered away from safety and fell over a cliff. Part way down the cliff they managed to hang onto a ledge or small bush while waiting for help to come and rescue them.

The only way to get to them was by going over the side of the cliff. Of course it was the hero who went down. He couldn’t do it alone, though. He would take his rope off his saddle and tie one end around his waist. The other end would be secured to his horse or held by a group of people who had arrived to lend assistance. They slowly let him down and then gently pulled him and the person rescued back up to the top. If he failed they died – but I never saw that happen.

While the hero got the credit, it was those who let him down and pulled him up that had as important a part as he did, maybe even more important. They were the unsung heroes but they were absolutely crucial to the success of the mission.

So what does this have to do with my imminent departure for a month in India? I feel like I am going over a cliff and I need you to hold the rope! If you don’t hold the rope firmly I’ll never accomplish what God wants me to accomplish.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m certainly not saying I’m some kind of hero for going over the cliff. I didn’t volunteer for this. God made it very clear I was to do this. There was no alternative. If there had been I’m sure I would have taken it. It’s purely a matter of obedience on my part. It has nothing to do with courage, “spirituality,” or any desire to be a hero. I know how miserable it is to disobey God – I’ve gone that route too often already. Inner peace and fellowship with God disappear. It’s much better to obey and do what He asks. So there’s no hero here today, just me trying to do God’s will.

And this is no glamorous adventure of trying to save the heathen and become well known. It’s a rescue attempt, short and simple. There are people lost in darkness about to go over the edge into eternity. If God can use me to bring them to safety in Him I’ll go own down. There are pastors and church leaders in seemingly impossible situations. If I can encourage them and help them find stable footing then they in turn can rescue others. Rescue attempts are hard, difficult and not always successful. But the attempt must be made.

However this isn’t about me. It’s about you holding the rope for me as I go down. If you don’t I won’t succeed. What does it mean to hold the rope? It means to pray. And then pray. Then pray some more. It means to keep the situation and need before the throne of God, asking for His guidance and blessing, His protection and provision.

So I beg you – hold the rope!! Hold it firmly, strongly, consistently. Put all your strength into it. Don’t be distracted or discouraged. Don’t give up. Pray, pray, pray and pray. Pray without ceasing. Keep on praying. Remember, I’m on the other end of the rope. Don’t let go! Keep praying until I get back up on familiar ground again. And by the way, THANKS!!!!!


  • Who is holding your rope as you venture out in service for God? Who are those who regularly and faithfully pray for you? Take some time tot hank them today. Let them know specifically where you need prayer.
  • Whose rope are you holding? Whose should you be holding? Your mate, co-workers, senior pastor, etc. Make a list and commit to supporting them in prayer every day

Jerry SchmoyerJerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!

Posted on October 11, 2009

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