Today, I had lunch with my friend Mike Coleman. In the course of our conversation, he told me about attending the local mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, where the guest speaker was the founder of a very successful company, Two Men and a Truck. The speaker used a metaphor that has been used by others, and it is very appropriate to so many of us. The metaphor was about boats and ships that remained tied to the dock when they were built to sail the open ocean. That boat or ship represented a life that refused to sail.
For many of us, the “ship” is beyond our means, but we all have a “boat”. Too often the boat is in the yard or garage. It is mostly not used and sits, even losing its quality or value.
I like boats and when Carolyn, the children, and I were young, we owned several, and often vacationed on our boats. I learned somethings about boats, and one thing I learned was that without use, they deteriorate. Boats are in some ways like faith; you have to use it or faith will decline. We were built to sail, to venture out toward destinations. Only then can we experience exhilarating winds and waves and joys of reaching our destinations.
Far too many people are in the garage or tied up at some dock where faith is declining, joys not found and destinations not reached. Perhaps they remain there due to being too busy with the mundane or out of fear for the perils of the sea. If you asked, “Do you have a boat?” the answer would be, “Yes.” But when you asked, “When was your last trip?” it was long ago, or never. They just like having one.
To be sure, there are perils at sea. Many have lost their lives in unsafe boats or weather. But faith not used is not faith at all. Watching others sail is not sailing at all. True believers are not spectators; they are sailors. But where we place our faith and with whom we sail is vital. Not all boats are trustworthy.
Many years ago, my father talked to a boat builder who had sailed the 7 seas. I was just a small boy and heard their conversation. Dad asked, “Captain, are you building that boat for the calm or the storm?” The old man responded, “I build all my boats for the storm!”
Journey, yes! But be sure that your faith is well placed and your vessel well-built. There will be storms, but prepared seamen will make it through to their destination. The Captain of our souls will sail with us if we ask Him to come aboard and take charge.
The story goes that a missionary was coming back to the US aboard a ship. Also on that ship was a celebrity. When the ship docked in NY harbor, there was a large crowd and a band to meet the celebrity, but no one met the missionary, who complained to the Lord about the unfairness of it. The Lord’s answer was simple and direct: “You are not home yet.”
The harbor to which we sail is not here; it is the eternal presence of the One with whom we sail.
Charles Simpson is an internationally-known author, Bible teacher, and pastor, serving in ministry since 1955. He is also Editor-in-Chief of One-to-One Magazine and ministers extensively throughout the United States and the nations.