Sunday, June 21, 2015

How to avoid a shipwreck

Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops. (Luke 12:1-3 NASB)

In yesterday's post, we looked at the word "beware". The word translated as "beware" is prosechō and is the same word used to describe the action of bringing a ship into dry land safely. It caused me to wonder about the dangers of bringing a ship to land, which ultimately led me to the top 50 causes of loss of ships. The list was so interesting that I thought you might enjoy a little detour to see it. 

Dr. E. Lee Spence, writing about shipwrecks, published a list of the 50 top causes of loss of ships. (you can read the entire list with the link below.)
Causes of the loss of ships at sea, by wreck or otherwise
  1. Short complement of men.
  2. Deficiency of materials and stores.
  3. Deficiency of water and provisions.
  4. Bad materials — anchors, chains, boats, spars, sails, cordage, etc.
  5. Bad quality of water and provisions.
  6. Teetotality — coffee instead of rum, etc.
  7. Bad condition of the ship from age, want of repairs, caulking, and looking properly to.
  8. Bad construction of the ship, out of trim, cranky, etc.
  9. Incapacity of masters and others.
  10. Presence of captain’s wives, and other women
Of the top ten causes of shipwreck, four are essentially due to not taking care of the ship and the equipment needed. (bad materials, bad quality, bad construction, bad condition). Four more are due to inadequate supplies (too few men, stores, provisions, and masters). 

Shipwrecks are bad business, and I want no part of it. I've seen lives that are "shipwrecked", and it's a heartbreaking sight.  I want no part of that, either.

How do we avoid shipwrecking our lives? If we want to navigate the treacherous waters of life safely, we must attend our lives in the same way that a captain attends his/her ship. We need to begin with truth, and make quality decisions based on that truth. We also need to take care of the "ship", or, in this illustration, take care of our bodies with adequate rest, exercise, and a healthy diet. 

We are more than physical beings, however. We are body, mind, and soul. Our minds need to be occupied, as does our soul. Experts recommend "mind tasks" such as crossword puzzles and math games to keep the mind sharp. I enjoy games, but prefer a life-long quest for learning to keep my mind sharp. My effort to learn the skills needed for writing fiction is just one example of that. "You're never too old to learn something new" is my motto.

Most important, however, is taking care of our souls. Bible study and Scripture memory are essential, but they are not enough. All the Bible studies in the world will not help me navigate the perils of life if I don't apply the lessons I learn. Paul, in his letter to Timothy, said that the purpose of study is to handle the word of truth accurately. Our goals should be that of a workman who wants to please his employer. In the case of disciples of Christ, we should aim to please God by how we use His Word.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 NASB)

Taking care of body, mind, and soul is an almost daunting task, but none of it is optional if we want to have the abundant life Christ came to give us. (John 10:10) It can be done, no matter our age or education or economics. 

Ship captains keep their eye on the goal. A successful journey is only accomplished when the ship returns to harbor. In the same way, the success of our lives is only determined at the end, when we successfully reach our eternal destination. If we want to reach our goal, we must be diligent to care for our ship (body, mind, and soul) and make sure we are traveling in the direction of the destination we most desire to reach. 

Pleasing God. In eternity, it's all that matters.