Summary: This series looks at the various things we have to surrender as Christians.
Last week I told you about the best summer job I ever had, and it was working on a ocean going salvage tugboat that went to the North Pole in 1981.
But I had my first summer job at sea when I was fifteen and for the first two summers of my high school years I worked on Tugboats. Between grade eleven and twelve I changed things up a bit and got a job on the Irving Artic a 614-foot-long oil tanker that spent that summer moving petroleum products from the refinery in Saint John to Montreal and Boston and points in between. Here is a picture of the Irving Arctic.
And my job that summer was the helmsman. That meant that I got to steer the ship, not all the time, just when we were arriving or leaving a harbour and when we were sailing up the Saint Lawrence River. The rest of the time, the ship was on autopilot.
So, just for a minute, picture in your mind your favourite 17-year-old, now envision him or her being in control of a 614-foot oil tanker full of refined oil products. That’s scary isn’t it.
By that point I had my driver’s licence less than a year. But, if you search the records you will not find any instances of the Irving Artic going aground or running into another ship, at least not while I was at the helm.
Now understand, that wasn’t my first rodeo so to speak. If your father was a tugboat captain, and if you had spent every chance that you could on said tugboats from the time you were 14 on, there was a pretty good chance you had spent some of that time at the helm. Which I had.
This is week three of our surrender series. Week one I spoke about some things that we shouldn’t surrender. Our dreams, our convictions and our relationship with Jesus.
Last week I spoke about surrendering our will. Paul wrote about that in Ephesians, telling us that we need to allow ourselves to be crucified.
Over the next several weeks Pastor Rob and I will be speaking about the signs of a surrendered life.
The scripture that was read earlier spoke in great detail about the power of the tongue in the lives of believers.
One of my favourite stories involves John Maxwell and long before he was a leadership guru he was a Wesleyan Pastor, and once I heard John say that when he was pastoring Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego he was asked “Are you praying that your people will get the gift of tongues?” “No” he replied, “I’m praying they'll learn to control the one they've got now.”
The scripture that was read earlier comes from the book of James, which was a letter written by Jesus’ brother James to the early church, and it was there that he warned Christians in James 3:2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
And then for the next ten verses, James spells out the danger of an uncontrolled tongue and gives us three very vivid metaphors for the tongue.
So, James goes on to say, James 3:3-6 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
Two of those metaphors conveniently, resonated with me. Actually, all three did, but we don’t talk about the brush fire I was responsible for when I was twelve.
Here James compares the tongue to the bit that is used on a horse’s bridle to steer a horse, and the rudder which is used to steer a ship.
In my early teen years my sister and I both owned horses and we spent most of our waking hours on said horses, so I am quite familiar with the concept of using a bit to control and steer a horse. I looked for a picture of me with our horses and this was what I found.
I wondered why there weren’t more, and I realized, we owned horses, we couldn’t afford film.
In my later teen years, I worked on various ships, including being a17 year old helmsman on the Irving Arctic.