Eighty-seven—Shipwrecked

Eighty-seven—Shipwrecked

Once upon a time, men went forth to navigate new worlds with little more than their eyes to the heavens and their hands ready to take soundings off the sides of their ships. Today a captain can plot a safe course electronically. Nearly 200 years apart, 2 ships came across the same reef. One in 1827 and the other in 2011. The 1827 encounter was a near miss. The highly relieved Captain d’Urville instantly named the reef after his still-intact ship, ‘Astrolabe.’ The 2011 encounter with the ‘Astrolabe Reef’ was a disaster. The containership, Rena, en route from Napier to Tauranga, New Zealand, hit the reef head-on. Apart from all the hundreds of tonnes of oil that smeared the coastline, eighty-seven of the 1368 containers on board fell into the sea. Beachcombers were warned of possible health risks from the chemical laden containers being washed ashore. The obvious question was asked: ‘How can a sophisticated containership not avoid a well-known reef in 2011?’ The answers are age-old: The safest course was not taken (because they were in a hurry), a warning was ignored, and no one was watching where they were going (Praise God no one was killed). In 1 Timothy 1:18-20 the apostle Paul speaks of spiritual shipwreck. Something Timothy must guard against by: (1) Heeding Paul’s command to ‘fight the good fight.’ We lose sight of the battle at hand when we allow ourselves to be tossed around by every wind of doctrine. (2) By ‘keeping faith’ in the faith of our Lord Jesus. Its easy to have faith in lesser things and plot our own course to destruction. (3) By keeping ‘a good conscience.’ Sin and temptation turn us into lower-deck lawyers; always justifying our weaknesses and questioning the Captain of our souls. And (4) By noting those who have ‘suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.’ Hymenaeus and Alexander had rejected the disciplines of ‘keeping faith and a good conscience.’ They had become guilty of blaspheme. Because of their rejection of Christ, they were ‘handed over to Satan,’ with a view to their repentance. We have boldness because Jesus has charted our course, given us orders, and remained the Captain of our souls. Thus, you will never be shipwrecked.(johnstaiger1@gmail.com)

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