“The sailors tried to abandon the ship by lowering the lifeboat into the sea, pretending they were going to lower anchors from the bow. Paul said to the centurion and his soldiers, “Unless they stay in the ship, you can’t be saved from peril.”
They cut the anchors loose and left them in the sea. At the same time, they untied the ropes that ran back to the rudders. They raised the foresail to catch the wind and made for the beach.”
Acts of the Apostles 27:30-31, 40 CEB
When you’ve been in a storm for too long it’s easy to want to abandon ship. When you’ve been pounded by the winds of criticism and the waves of doubt it’s enough to make you want to abandon ship. But your best option is to stay on the ship.
My grandmother’s generation called the church the “Old Ship of Zion,” it has landed many of thousands. Thousands of former slaves found salvation through the body of Christ also known as the church. The Gospel was not trademarked or created by white slave masters. It was mismanaged by slave masters and liberated by those who had encountered the resurrected Christ. People like Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr stayed on board the ship to save thousands standing on the word of God and staying in the church.
The apostle Paul was on a ship caught in a storm. They had been battered for many days with no sun or sign of being saved. The men grew hopeless and were lowering lifeboats pretending they were lowering anchors. Instead of staying they were fleeing.
It’s the same today. People have been in the storm so long, they see no need to stay in the marriage, stay in the job, or stay in the church. They are on the ship pretending to anchor when in actuality they are planning to escape in lifeboats. Paul said unless they stay on the ship all 276 people would die. Our decision to stay on the ship or abandon ship affects more than just ourselves.
When Paul told them that their salvation depended upon them staying on the ship this is what they did, and it’s what we must do.
- They made a decision to stay and cut the lifeboats loose. Leaving was no longer an option. Lifeboats are attractive alternatives that lead to an eventual destruction. It makes sense to get off a ship in a storm but it makes better sense to stay on the ship. Why? Because the ship could handle what the lifeboat couldn’t. The ship took the beating that a few in a lifeboat couldn’t absorb. We are stronger together.
- They cut the anchors. When they got close to land they cut what was holding them in one spot. They let go and let God. To stay in one spot in a storm would mean certain death. To cut the anchors meant they had a better chance of making it to the land. Notice they didn’t cut the anchors until they measured how close they were to land. We have to make decisions off of empirical data and then trust our faith.
- They raised the sails to catch the wind. The same wind that had battered them in the storm would now be the same wind that would get them to land. We need to let the winds of adversity drive us to the place God is trying to take us.
This morning we have to face our FEAR and decide which option we are going to take.
Forget Everything And Run
Face Everything And Rise!
Today I’m committing to staying in church, cutting ties with lousy alternatives, shut off all distractions, and raising my faith to catch the wind of the Holy Spirit. I’m going to Face Everything And Rise! What about you?
In Jesus’ Name,