Captain of Your Salvation

Dr. Henry Cloud tells us that we are leaving a wake on life’s ocean. In case the term is not familiar, the wake of a ship are those waves created by the vessel as it moves through the water. His words are beautiful and thought provoking. “You can tell a lot about a ship as you look at its wake. If it is in a straight line, you get the feeling that the boat is steadily on course and that the captain is not dozing at the wheel…. if it is smooth and flat you know something about the speed of the boat. … With people the same thing is true. As a person goes through life, he leaves behind a wake.” (Integrity, Dr. Henry Cloud, 2005)

That image grabs my imagination. How about you? What is the wake left in life as you sail on by? Cloud suggests that the waves we are leaving involve both our relationships and tasks. We must not just do the work efficiently, we must also consider how what we do affects the lives of those around us.  Imagine a person on a powerful speed boat racing full throttle through a flotilla of small pleasure craft tossed wildly by the waves left behind. Not very considerate, I’d say.

On the task side of our lives, we should ask –

– Am I completing tasks on time and without needless diversions?
– Do I understand the task and set my course to finish it?
– Is my work well done, worthy of review?
– Am I investing passion in my daily life, or draining energy from those around me?

On the relational side we should ask –
– Do I create hope and encourage?
– Do I build barriers and discourage?
– Are people glad that I have passed by?
– Do I leave people enriched or exploited?

The first week in my retirement I have had the opportunity to reflect on the wake that my actions have made on the ocean of life. It’s been a joy to read some notes about how my work has affected lives. “You were there for us at our worst moment and we wonder how we would have made it through without your steady faith guiding us,” read one note. Tears filled my eyes as I remembered that day.  “Our children were shaped by your example and teaching.”  That was humbling!  “I was always informed, inspired, and sometimes convicted by your sermons,” another wrote.  I wryly thought about the critics that did not send notes, too.

We do well to ask ourselves about the course we have set and the wake we are leaving. 

Of first importance is this:
Am I responsive to the divine guidance of God, the Holy Spirit?  Is He setting my course?

When the Spirit and the Word are our trusted guidance system,  we can catch wind and sail on!  Our wake will be choppy and uneven if we adjust speed or course every time someone else objects to our heading!  That does not suggest arrogance, but a deep humility that is born out of time alone with God that brings us understand of what He wants from us.

Of second importance is this:
Is my life principled? Have I discovered who I am in Christ so that I live in love and wisdom?

Principled people will hold their heading for Heaven in stormy weather that comes to us all. They will say “yes” to the best things able to override the siren song of their emotions. Paul urges us to maturity so that we will not be tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching.”  (Ephesians 4)  There will be moments of wavering, times of rough water, but the principled person who has made a priority decision for Christ’s Lordship will sail steadily on.

Take a look at the wake you’re leaving on life’s sea. Is it straight and true? Does it show steady speed? Don’t just look at the immediate past. Try looking back a few months, a couple of years, a decade perhaps. I hope you’re drawn straight on as you follow “Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2, KJV) Does the wake reveal the zigs and zags of irresponsible behavior?  Are there places where you went ‘dead in the water,’ giving up, pulling down the sails in fear or frustration?  God renews our hearts and minds.  He forgives our sins and failures.  Pray for new vision, step up to the challenge and set sail.  

Here’s a word from the Word for this day.  Invite Jesus, Captain of our salvation, to take the helm of your ship! 
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Hebrews 2:9-11, KJV)

Sail On (An old one! But a good one!)

Sail on
When the water gets high
Sail on
When the wind starts to die
Sail on
It’s just a matter of minutes
‘Til His ship comes to get us
And we’ll all get in it

When we’re all born we set out to sea
Looking for answers continuously
Then when we find out to Him we belong
We watch for the signs and keep sailin’ on

Cast up your sails and let the wind blow
Jesus will never let your ship lose control
Just keep your compass set on the Son
He’ll guide you safely to His beautiful home

We can afford to throw our lives to the wind
We’ve got the Lord in control of our ship
And He’ll guide us safely in

Sail on
When the water gets high
Sail on
When the wind starts to die
Sail on
It’s just a matter of minutes
‘Til His ship comes to get us
And we’ll all get in it

Chris Christian © 1977 Curb Word Music (Admin. by WC Music Corp.)

CCLI License # 810055

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