Missing the boat. Not a position you want to be in. For whatever reason, you’re running down the dock as you see the gangway door on the ship close. You’ve known the date and time far in advance, but the world got in the way and you’ve missed what could be a life-changing trip.
The same could be true for airline flights. I have run through airports to make a connecting flight. My initial flight was late because of weather, mechanical issues, or maybe just bad planning on my part.
Many times over the disciples “missed the boat.” They were drawn to Jesus by His invitation to make them “fishers of men.” He called others with just a simple phrase, “Follow me.” In the beginning I’m certain they didn’t understand what Jesus was trying to convey to them. They saw Him heal the sick and infirmed, and even had command over the elements like changing water into wine, walking on water, and calming the seas with just a word. For you and me, I think we would believe just about anything Jesus would tell us…..maybe!
Jesus had asked the disciples who the people said He was. Then He asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” The Holy Spirit gave this revelation to Peter, but he was still missing the boat.
Peter called Jesus the Messiah, but he and the other disciples believed Jesus was on earth to set up His earthly kingdom, return the nation of Israel to prominence and unite all the tribes again under one king, and free them from the oppressive rule of Rome. If this was the case, they may have thought they were on the new king’s inner circle and therefore had their future looking bright.
When Jesus told them He must die at the hands of the officials, Peter pulled His boss aside and verbally scolded Him. It was only a few days before Peter verbalized the divinity of Jesus yet did not believe the Son of the Living God’s own words. He missed the boat and it hadn’t even sailed yet!
Do we sometimes fail to see the hand of God working in our lives? If we read the Word, we can see how Jesus wants us to live, treat others, and how to strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We can also see what must come to pass before Christ comes again as a conquering King. The ill-informed or misinformed can be swayed like a willow in the wind. Be strong! Build you faith and knowledge on the firm foundation of Christ.
When Jesus calls His church to heaven, we will all go as if on one big boat. We don’t want to miss the boat! Stay vigilant, with our eyes and ears fixed on Captain Jesus. It will truly be a life-changing trip indeed!!
When is the last time you walked into an automobile dealership, found the car or truck of your liking and said, “I’ll take that one, but I don’t want the engine?” Or maybe you preferred to have the front seats or back glass removed? How about just having the rearview mirror taken out? All these statements are ludicrous. You wouldn’t just buy half a car, now would you?
Another example would be building a house. What type of a look do you think the builder would give you if you said, “We love the plans, but we don’t need a roof!” There are few parts of a house which are more essential than a roof and we need a good one to protect us from the elements.
Wholeness is something we need in our lives, whether it’s a car, a house, and yes even a church. God has established His covenant of grace through Jesus Christ, and upon Him built the church. When we become part of His family, we receive a “welcome” gift. This gift is ours, but it is given for a purpose – to use in and build up the church, His church.
Many times, we hear people saying, “I feel like God has led us to this church.” We smile and think it’s so nice. But consider this: God leads people to a specific church for a specific reason! He knows the gift or gifts we have received because He gave them to us! He leads us where the use of His gifts are needed! None of us have exactly the same gift, but all are equally important and play a vital role in the church, not matter how insignificant we may think the gift is, like a rearview mirror in a car.
Earlier this year I had shoulder reconstruction surgery. For five weeks my arm was in one of those special slings which completely immobilized by arm. I had to learn to dress myself using one hand, eat using my non-dominant hand (which was really messy initially), and many other daily tasks. You see, it is easy to accomplish tasks when we have our whole body working together. Take away one of the parts, and things do not run so smooth, if at all!
God wants His church to be healthy, vibrant, alive, and whole. To be whole, we must be willing to use our gifts together, as a puzzle fits together to make a beautiful picture just as the creator of the puzzle intended. The only true way we can be all this is to be “Whole in One,” and the One is our Savior, Jesus Christ. Honor Him with your gifts, the gifts given to you and you alone, because you are special to Him.
Throughout time (no pun intended) we have measured the passage of time in many ways. In ancient days, the period of a single day was measured by the rising or setting of the sun. A month was measured by the time it took between full moons. The ancient Egyptians even measured time with devices that used water. Suffice it to say the sun and its reflector, the moon, were the key instruments in time measurement.
Today time is measured by atomic means. Many of us have wall clocks and even watches which receive a signal from the atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado. It is one of the most accurate clocks in the world, with an expected error of one second over 100 million years! Not that any of us will be around to see if they’re right or not, but that’s a pretty accurate and reliable source for time. Like it or not, our lives are measured in time. But I ask you, do we have control over it?
This week I had a dear friend reach the end of his time on this earth. Did he have control over it? We have control over many contributing factors, but we all know we have as much control over our end-of-life time as we do in controlling the tides in the ocean. Just like the tides are controlled by gravitational factors of the sun’s reflector (the moon), God has his own timetable which only He controls.
Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for everything and a season under the sun. You see the reference to time being measured by the sun. But I propose there is a time for everything under the Son, Jesus Christ!
Death is not the end. It is merely, for those who have given their lives to Christ, a change of address to a place specifically built for us! We are uncertain however when our time to change addresses will come. As with my friend, it was sudden and there were no indicators. But it was his time on God’s calendar for him to make a change of address. On that day, the brightness of God will shine brighter than the sun, and we will see the Son face to face, and there will be no more time.
There are multiple scriptures in the Bible which indicate we are not promised tomorrow. Proverbs 27:1 tells us to not boast about tomorrow, for we don’t know what the day will bring. Therefore, we only have today. Tell those closest to you today that you love them and give them a hug. When you close your eyes tonight, you might awaken in glory tomorrow!
As indicated with the title, I ask you as we do others when we don’t know the time, “What time do you have?”
The wind can be a huge inhibiting factor for the #1 pastime here in the Village – golf! It certainly is a different game when hitting a golf ball into a direct wind. And just let there be the slightest of sidespin on the ball, and the wind will accentuate the flight of the ball to the left or right. Some days it seems like every hole you play you have a head wind, no matter which way you turn.
For those new to central Arkansas, just up the road is a lake called Lake Maumelle. The lake was created as a water source for Little Rock and the surrounding areas. It has a ridgeline running its complete length on its southern shore. Because the lake lays in an east-west direction, and the wind coming over the ridgeline creates downward pressure on the lake, it is a sailing mecca for those who enjoy the sport in this part of the state. On windy days you can see many large sails on tiny boats zooming downwind on the lake. And then they turn, or “tack”, changing the direction of the boat into the wind as they zig zag back across the lake. I’ve tried sailing in the past and enjoy the downwind portion. But when it came time to tack back and forth, I lost all ability to make progress toward the starting point.
The majority of the disciples were fishermen. I sometimes have scratched my head and wondered how they could be so short-sighted in their behavior. When Peter jumped from the boat and walked on water, he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Then he cried out to Jesus to save him? Couldn’t this fisherman swim? Some say no, but there is evidence to the contrary in scripture following the resurrection.
So why did the disciples struggle in boats? When Jesus sent them across the Sea of Galilee, scripture tells us they struggled against the wind all night! Why didn’t they just “tack” and use the wind to their advantage? We will never know.
We are no different. How many times when we meet a brick wall, whether it’s a situation we’re trying to overcome, or a person who has a difference of opinion on a matter. We (or at least I will confess) think applying “head on” effort will break down the wall and we’ll be victorious. A lot of energy is expended when we try to muscle through the “wind.”
What we need to do is “tack” in the direction of Jesus. Just like when Jesus calmed the winds, the sea went still, and the disciples had a new focus. He can calm the winds of our lives in the same way when we focus on Him. Let’s all learn a lesson from the disciples and stop struggling against things on our own. Christ will give us a direction to “tack” when we give the struggle to Him in prayer.
Maybe I should ask the question using correct English: With what are you struggling? As you can guess I struggle with the English language, or should I say with formal English. Do I use “its” or “it’s”? Should I put the question mark inside the quotation marks or outside of them? You’ve heard the joke, “a preposition is a terrible thing to end a sentence with.” That describes my grasp of proper English to a tee!
We have many struggles in our life. You have witnessed as adults the struggles of puberty in teenagers, specifically boys, and laugh. I must pause here and tell you I did not have a son, I had two daughters. I wouldn’t trade them for all the riches in the world. They were wonderful and have grown to be beautiful women. As for a boy, I believe God in His infinite wisdom knew I would have had no patience for raising a teenage boy! I laugh, but I digress!
It’s easy to look back and see the struggles of others, but a little more difficult to see our own. While we can identify the struggles we overcame, how about those we failed to reach victory? It’s not as easy to talk about the latter, because of the first step to problem solving: admit there is a problem.
Those of us who gave our life to Christ at an early age did so with the faith of a child. We accepted the fact we could not solve the issue of our own sin. We were told Jesus died for our sins, we wholly accepted this, and made Him the Lord of our lives. But what happened after that?
Those who accepted Christ later in life approached Jesus with a different mindset. They had more years behind them, and therefore more “sins” to have forgiven, but the struggle is different. Adults rationalize, qualify, quantify, and apply logic to problems. But these struggles lie within ourselves rather than with God, so we wrestle inwardly.
Do younger Christians have the same struggles? Is accepting Christ at an early age make living the Christian life easier? Absolutely not!!! Older adults have experienced the “pulls” of this world and have seen those paths lead nowhere. But a younger Christian, even though they have Christ in their life, must face the inevitable decisions and struggles posed by the world without the luxury of experience.
Can we use someone else’s experience as our own? We all know the answer to that question. Can we use someone else’s faith as our own? I answer this question with a contrast: God versus my God. Is God just someone we’ve heard about, or do we have a personal relationship with Him?
We all have struggles. But those of us who call upon Christ’s sacrifice, and are covered with God’s unfailing grace know we have a source of strength far beyond our own.
Struggling? Give your struggles to the only One who can pull you through!!