Some of the most pivotal moments in human history happened on a boat or ship of some kind. Without the Ark, humanity as a whole would have been destroyed in the flood of Genesis 7. The very first miracle Jesus performed in front of His initial followers was when Peter, Andrew, James, and John were in a boat, and He told them to cast their nets on the other side in Mark 1. Who could forget when Jesus calmed the winds and waves with just His voice while on a boat in Mark 4? Just a couple of chapters later, we find Jesus walking on water to join the disciples on a boat in Mark 6. Even in secular history, many of humanity’s greatest achievements happened because of a ship. Christopher Columbus loaded up the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María, and accidentally stumbled upon North America when they sailed the ocean blue in 1492. In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the earth to prove that the earth was indeed, round. The Mayflower brought the first English settlers to North America in 1620. Thousands of note-worthy events have occurred one way or the other… because of a boat.
Boats have never really been fascinating to me. Come to think of it, I have never found myself with an urge to roam the open seas. Maybe that is because of the trauma we all have experienced from hearing horror stories that take place at sea. Personally, I prefer the dry ground. However, no one can deny the tremendous significance boats have had on mankind all these many years. They are not as quick as a plane nor as convenient as an automobile, but boats get the job done and have for thousands upon thousands of years. With that being said, I want to investigate what I believe makes boats so special. Perhaps even how they can relate to our spiritual lives today.
If I were to ask you which part of a sailboat was most important, how would you respond? Some might say that the hull of the boat is the most important. I mean, without a good and balanced hull, the ship would not remain steady through the waves and would topple over. More dangerous than that, without a good hull of a boat, the entire vessel will sink. Perhaps some would contend that the sail is the most essential part of the ship. Without a good sail, there is no way for the boat to be propelled or go from point A to point B. What good is a ship that stands still? Well, after thinking about that… what good is a boat that can stay afloat and can go forward if there is no ability to steer, maneuver, or adjust the course? Maybe the rudder is the most crucial part of a vessel… In my opinion, I do not think there is necessarily a wrong answer to be given. EVERY part of the ship is just as important as the next. Some parts of the boat may SEEM to be unnecessary, minuscule, and superfluous, but upon further investigation are incredibly important. There is no “MOST important” part of a ship because without ALL the components working together properly, the entire vessel is rendered USELESS. Voyagers onboard expect all the components to work together effectively to get them to their desired destination safely and unscathed.
Have you ever thought about the commandments of God as different components or parts of a boat? If we were to look at the whole of God’s Word, there would be many parts and components that may not seem all too important upon first glance. Surely the commands that receive all the fanfare and attention are the most important, right? I mean, who WOULDN’T argue that Jesus’ teachings on love and forgiveness are more important than His teachings on obedience and self-denial? It is a no brainer, right? Sometimes we can be guilty of looking at God’s Word and merely picking and choosing which parts we believe are more important… and neglect to listen or adhere to the components that we deem are not as necessary. Perhaps we even can be guilty of haphazardly choosing which commands to follow based on what is most attractive to us at the time. God’s Word does not work that way. Though they may seem more minuscule, obscure, or less frequently mentioned, every commandment of God holds the same weight before Him. His expectations for us are the same across the board… OBEDIENCE. The Word of God is not a buffet. It is a prescription for how we are to live.
Consider the first example given above of Noah and his Ark in Genesis 6-7. The guidelines and commands God gives Noah may seem unimportant, minuscule, or obscure. Imagine if Noah had decided, “Ahh… surely God would want us to have more than one window… We’ll be alright. Surely God would be okay if I covered just the outside with pitch; the inside will be just fine without it. You know, this whole gopherwood thing just doesn’t seem all too important… Let’s go with a nice oak,” where would humanity be today? God has a purpose for everything He asks of us. It does not matter what WE THINK if it contradicts what God’s Word says. Genesis 6:22 says, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” The Ark stayed afloat and kept them alive because Noah did ALL that the Lord had commanded him. God has given us His Word to get us from this life to the next, safe and unscathed. All we have to do is GET ON BOARD. His Word will keep us afloat, keep us propelled, and keep us in the right direction as He carries His voyagers safely home.
-Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism