HOW IS YOUR STEERING?
Each year the Staff of the Coign Church have a day out together. We have done a variety of things over the years, but this year we hired a motor boat and headed off down the River Thames from Chertsey towards Runnymede.
The rain held off for most of the day, and a lot of fun was had by all. However, one of the main talking points among us during the day was the erratic steering of the boat by a certain member of the team who for the time being will remain nameless.
Most of us took a turn ‘navigating’ the boat from one lock to another and almost all of us got the hang of it quite quickly, but this certain individual took us on a course that lurched from one side of the river to the other. There was a real concern that we would run out of fuel such was the distance we covered with him at the helm.
To be fair to my colleague, there are many things that can cause you to go off track when steering a boat. The current was against us and along with the wind; this can knock you off course. Obstacles, like fallen trees require you to change direction. The twist and turn of the river itself, on coming boats and the distraction from crew members all add to the challenge of navigating a boat successfully.
The trick is not to wildly turn the boats wheel every time you need to change direction, as the boat will lurch from one bank to the other. The better way is to pick a course and constantly make little adjustments on the wheel to maintain a straight course.
In Luke’s Gospel, chapter 9:62 Jesus teaches us how to plough (live) a good straight furrow (life). ‘’No one who puts his hands to the plough and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God’’. Those listening to Jesus would have known that as soon as you look behind you when ploughing, you will go off course and the furrow would be unproductive. Jesus is not giving a farming lesson; no he is addressing the attitude of a number of his followers who said they would follow him, but through their actions and in their hearts had more pressing and important priorities. Jesus’ statement is a hard one, as he says that those who look back, or do not have Christ as their upmost priority are not fit for the Kingdom of God.
At times in our lives we all need some help getting back on course. During my turn navigating the boat, I made a bit of a hash of docking next to a lock we were about to go through, so the ‘crew’ helped sort out the inaccuracy of my steering.
In Hebrews 12, Jesus is described as the author and perfecter of our faith. We need to submit our lives to Him and allow Him to shape and perfect us and allow Him to set our course. There may be times when He will have to remould us and it will feel like a drastic change of direction, but once on course, allow the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to make those small adjustments to our lives that will keep us on track, on course aiming at Jesus. Keep on being filled with the Spirit of God and as it states in Jude:20 But You beloved, build yourselves up in the most Holy Faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
It’s all about Him, Jesus, He is our goal, our prize, our all in all. So don’t constantly look back, whether the past is glorious or even painful, you may go off course.
And for those longing to know who our way-ward crew member was, you will have to guess!!