HOLD ONTO FAITH AND AVOID THE SHIPWRECK
1 Timothy 1:19
As I was praying recently I heard a God whisper; “I have come to tell you what you must say.” I proceeded to quickly write down everything that came to mind and the following story unfolded:
A good king owned many ships, in fact, altogether it made up a great fleet; a glorious Armada.
Each of these ships was commissioned for a task. There were all sizes, big and small. Each was crafted for their purpose. Some were rigged with the equipment for a big haul of fish, some designed for charting new waters, some designed for industry and some armoured for battle.
On the deck of these boats was a captain. They were given the responsibility to follow the instructions of the king and to bring about good for the kingdom.
The day came for the ships to exit the harbour. They pulled anchor and headed out. As much as it broke his heart, the king understood that many would not return. Still, he allowed them to sail.
Some would get side-tracked, off course and caught up temptations of life. They’d arrive at a foreign port and put down anchor, forgetting all about the importance of their role for the king.
Some would face stormy seas, getting tossed by the wind and waves until they gave up shipwrecked in despair, never calling on their king for the reinforcements he’d have so willingly provided.
And some, in fear, hid from the battle, not using the weapons the king had provided and never venturing into the new ground the king had for them to take.
But the ones that stayed on course, fished their waters, charted new territory, stood down their opponents and braved the stormy seas returned to the king to receive their glorious reward in full.
Each of us has a role to play for our King. God has designed you and crafted you for a purpose in His kingdom.
The sad thing about ships that failed to return, was that the king had provided everything each would need for their journey, they just needed to remain faithful to follow his instructions. We need to watch that we are not taken out - apathy, discouragement, distraction, weariness…. These are enemies of remaining faithful to our king.
"...wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith." 1 Timothy 1:18-19
I have known seasons in my life where I have drifted off course. God was not my true north or my goal. I sought after what was temporal instead of what was eternal, I had been significantly tossed around by life and ended up feeling hopeless.
I remember returning to Church, eager to get my life back on track. I was at the Everywoman Gathering and I asked God to pick up the pieces of my life. Each piece was broken – family, finances, relationships, career... As I presented them to God I heard that still small voice: “Seek first the kingdom of God and these things will be given to you also.”
It was a dramatic turning point in my life. I began putting God first in my life, in my time, in my finances and my energies. I would spend hours in my room after my young sons had gone to bed pouring over His word and in His presence. It was a time of complete wonder. I started experiencing the God I had only heard about for myself.
When I look back at this time I can’t say that I suddenly did life perfectly… But I had decided to be faithful to the One who had been so faithful to me and things began to change.
A 'SEE YOU LATER.'
We recently farewelled one of the ladies from our C3 Cares service. She was 65 years old and had known a lot of sickness in her life. We had met her and her husband when we were invited to come to her house to help them out, they were in a lot of debt and didn’t know what to what to do.
We built a great friendship them both and they began coming to Church. She invited Jesus into her life and wanted to be baptised. It was a chilly day and the water heater in the baptism pool had broken. Because she was quite frail we were trying to encourage her to wait until next time – but she was insistent! Today was the day she was being baptised. She began to chase after Jesus for herself.
Today, as I think of her in heaven. I am so glad to have been obedient to Christ to visit her that day and to journey with her to know Jesus. It is of eternal significance. We did not say goodbye, it was simply a 'see you later.'
PLANTED AND FLOURISHING.
After the service I began talking to a lady who said she enjoyed the encouraging words. I asked her about her life and whether she was in Church. She answered that she sometimes goes along to sit and refresh.
Sitting and refreshing is nice, but it just isn’t going to cut it. God has made us for a purpose. Each of us has been given a role to play in Gods kingdom. We need to be planted in the House of God, playing our part, actively being the hands and feet of Jesus and displaying His kindness to those around us.
“Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing.” Psalms 92:12-13
Faithfulness to our king is so important. Beyond this short life there is a great life of joy that stretches out forever into eternity. Those who are faithful here will enter that life and get a crown of righteousness. The good news for us is that He is faithful and kind. His grace covers us and His spirit helps us.
Let's be like the ship that stays on course, who fishes the waters, charts new territory, overcomes in battle and achieves all that God has set before us.