The message was brought by Rev. Stuart Orr.
I got to thinking about being on a journey and about the wind. You can watch a sailboat and see the wind work. In old times the men went out not knowing where they were going; they were called explorers. They didn’t know what would happen, good or bad. We’re on a journey with our destination being heaven. In those old ships, if they had a storm the wind would blow them off track. The devil brings storms we were not anticipating and takes us places where we didn’t intend to go. What do we do?
Now the ships have better navigation; you rarely hear of the loss of a ship. Beacons go out if they need help. In the old days men were “lost at sea.” Nowadays a ship is thought of as a cruise ship to go on a big vacation. Or a cargo ship that goes out and takes supplies. Many cargo ships are lost in a day. But they can still radio for help.
Christopher Columbus did not have that. He had three ships and the people on board had to be useful to the ship. They went on with so much food and water. They had to calculate how much food and water they needed to get to their first destination and get more provisions. Talk about an adventure!
When we got saved, we got on a ship. On a ship we want certain people and things. We want a captain who understands the ship; he understands the journey and how to get to the destination. There is also a first mate at his right hand. If something happens to the captain the first mate takes over. Also you have a navigator. I love looking at the stars. They look different every night. Some nights you can pick out constellations; some nights the store stars are so bright you see stars on top of stars. A navigator knows the stars and the sun and can tell where they are on the ocean; he was important to the boat.
On the boat we’re on, Jesus is the captain and the Holy Spirit is the navigator. He speaks and tells us where we need to be. Before I get to heaven I’ll be at a lot of ports. The house of God is a good port. Christians are supposed to go to church. We’re not alone. Not very many solo sails end up well. I need people. I need the preacher and my church family. Who do you call in time of trouble? The church–so you should be part of it. We need to be listening to the Holy Spirit. He’s the navigator. As we witness, sometimes we need to come on strong; other times we need to be still and compassionate. How do we know which? We listen to the Holy Spirit.
Christopher Columbus sailed out on an ocean that had never been mapped. People used to think the earth was flat. They had nothing to do by. It was hard work to keep the crew fed. A cook was needed. There was no refrigeration at that time. Live animals would have been taken on board for food. Someone had to process all that. They ate it all. What if they were to run out? We might turn our nose up at eating certain parts of animals but they needed to just in case. Some days what gets put on our plate is not what we expected. We have to take it, process it, and move on.
Wouldn’t you want a doctor on board? What is someone gets hurt, breaks an arm or gets scurvy or dyssenterry? I’ve had co-workers get upset at the sight of blood. You need a doctor. Someone had to keep the sailors alive. The Bible is our doctor. It’s good medication. John the Revelator was told to take the book and eat it. He said it was sweet on his lips but bitter in his belly. Sometimes the Bible is that way. It shows us where we need to be. It takes care of our wounds and hurts. I’ve been hurt by family and friends. I open the Word and get help for the hurts. Can you not tell if a woman lives in a house. It’s kept cleaner. Marriage can be tough and frustrating. What do you do? Buckle down in the Word. The Bible tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. It is our job to take the lead in any situation and get the family back on track. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath is what the Bible says. Anger and resentment are not good ways to have a home or marriage. God gives wisdom as we take the Word as our doctor.
So, we have a captain, a first mate, a navigator, a cook, and a doctor. Do they make the boat move? No. Sailors have to be there. Common, everyday people make the boat go. We have to be willing to get in our place. We can’t say “I’m not the preacher” or “I’m not the ____.” If you are on the Ship of Zion, you’re a sailor who must do his or her part. It may take 5 or 6 to lift the same sail from different locations. Working together they do it. We’re headed in the same direction. There is no need not to get along.
Stay on board. One time that’s what Paul told the people. They had been in a storm for 14 days. All the goods were thrown overboard. Some of the people thought they should. Paul said no. He had warned them to to start the journey anyway, but they didn’t listen. He said now they had better. No one would be lost if everyone stayed on the ship. Who kept that ship going? God! The people thought it would fall apart but if they listened to God Paul said they’d all make it safely.
How much do you trust your Captain? When he says sail, do we. I couldn’t help but think of First Corinthians 13:13 when I wanted to name the three ships who sail with me.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Faith is my trusting God. Hope says I believe there is a place waiting on me and I’ll make it safely there. I’m not there yet, but I will be. We’ve never seen it, never tasted its food. Are you sure there is a heaven? Absolutely! My hope and faith say there is. We trust the Captain. We know Jesus is with us and will bring us to the other side. Hope is the anchor holding us close to Jesus. Charity is love; it covers a multitude of sins. I love my wife and children. God taught me how. I can love my wife with the emotion of love but the love God wants, a long, abiding love, is learned through our Lord. The Word tells us how to love our church. We’ve lost a lot of the etiquette of how to treat each other in our day. We are to give respect to the older and to love and teach the younger like a sibling.
The ship I’m on has Faith, Hope, and Charity on board. We’ll make it to the destination.