Summary: Wherever we are we must make a difference in the lives of those we interact with
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Opening Hymn: # 546 Closing Hymn: # 357/ #375
Offering Hymn: it 367 Scripture Reading: Jam.4:17; 1 Cor.9:19,20
Let us take a journey into the book of Acts chapter 27 and verse 10 where we will meet Paul the prisoner at Fair Havens giving advice to the centurion, the captain of the ship and the owner of the ship.
[Acts 27:10,11 ] And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the ship master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul
Paul was particularly pessimistic about leaving the confines of the port in Fair Haven. He saw nothing but destruction for the ship and the crew. But what could an old prisoner know compared with the old sea hands like the owner of the ship and the captain. These men were the doctors of the sea, and Paul a mere novice. Besides as far as the centurion was concerned Paul was merely making an attempt to delay his arrival in Rome. So often the men of the world place evil motives to the actions or statements of Godly men. In ordinary circumstances anyone would go with the professionals, but Paul was not an ordinary man. He was a man in touch with God. The centurion did not know Paul and he did not know the God with whom Paul communicated but this will not last for long. The centurion sided with what his rational mind told him. Indeed, the carnal mind cannot understand the things of God.
He never gave two thoughts to Paul’s advice rather he took the advice of those he thought were more knowledgeable. But God has said in 1 Cor 1:27
[1Cor 1:27 ]But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
Paul may not have gone to the School of the seamen but he was in touch with the One who made seas. He was in touch with the One whom the Psalmist declares causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; maketh lightnings for the rain; and bringeth the wind out of his treasuries. Ps. 135: 7
The Centurion obviously did not understand this!!
Brothers and sister we need not lack for any knowledge or wisdom for any task that God has given us to do James tells us in Chp.1 : 5
If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Paul did not count himself inferior to the more able and knowledgeable seamen but as God gave him knowledge, he declared it with confidence. Paul did not focus on the lack of seaman credentials. Rather he trusted in the information God had given him. We must not focus on what we lack; rather we must focus on the task and leave the rest to God.
For any problem that we may perceive he will have the answer.
For any difficulty he will have the solution.
All we need to do is trust Him.
All the pointers seem to go against Paul’s advice:
Fair Haven was not the best port to winter in-Phoenix was just a few miles further down.
There was a gentle breeze blowing.
And so, they set out:
But as happens so often when men choose their own way rather than God's trouble sets in verses 14-20 tells us.
[Acts 27: 14 - 20] But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksand, strake sail, and so were driven. And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
These men had become hopeless. They had now found themselves in a situation that they could not handle. Thoughts of seeing they loved ones again had completely vanished. To be in a position of complete helplessness is a very, very depressing experience. They had done everything that could be done; now they could do no more.