“And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
Mark 4:35-39 (emphasis mine)
Other little ships. I had not read any commentaries, blogs, newsletters, sermons or books on those three words; other little ships, but during morning devotions, it seemed as if they literally leapt off the page at me; why had I not noticed it before? Had I ever heard a minister talk about the other little ships? I don’t recall any, but surely in my lifetime of being in The Church, I surely had heard someone mention them.
Why now, Lord? What is so important about all the other little ships?
Setting the stage, for some know the story but others may not. Jesus was asleep in the boat when a fierce storm came up. The disciples were terrified because the boat was full of water and it seemed that all hope was gone. When they finally go to get Jesus (must admit here I do not understand why they wait until the boat is completely filled with water before they wake the Creator of the Universe, but I digress…) He immediately rebuked the wind and spoke peace to the sea.
And just that fast, it was over and the Bible says “…there was a great calm.”
Nothing in the Bible is there by accident. God was sure to insert the fact that there were other ships around. Why?
I believe it is because He wanted us to know that we, The Church, that’s you and I, are continually affecting those around us. What we do, how we act and react, the words that tumble out of our mouths, how we handle adversity, how we love or do not love, our giving, or our holding back, our very lives, are open books for the other little ships! Those other little ships may be small, young, and new to their faith and are not yet feasting on the meat; they are still being fed milk. Or, they may not even know the Lord! But both are watching, always watching.
When God does something for us, whether He delivers, saves, heals, whatever it may be, others are touched. That ripple effect impacts everyone around us. So when we bail the water out of our own ship we must be careful not to sink another. Don’t pile all of your problems on a new saint, or God forbid, someone who is not even filled with the Spirit yet! Griping about the Church, or people in the Church, complaining about every little thing you don’t like, could easily sink the ship, or the faith, of another.
A couple of years ago I wrote a post entitled, We Don’t Do the Church Thing, (you can read it here). It has held its place in the Top 5 posts of all time on Hope in the Healing. It was about a young mother I met who was sharing how happy she was in her picturesque, Americana life. And there was nothing wrong with that! But what grabbed me was when she said she had Bibles in her house but, “We don’t do the church thing.” What followed was a deluge of emails from others sharing that they, too, no longer darkened the doors of a church building. The reasons?
Other BIG SHIPS.
They had been hurt, abused, kicked around, so to speak, by those who claimed to know Christ, claimed to have been changed, set free and re-born but their lives did not reflect the supposed change. So, all of these other little ships, watching, emulating and trying their best to figure it all out, became disillusioned by the actions of those who should have known better.
Shame on us all if we speak one thing in the church house but live an entirely different life when we pull out of that parking lot. Newsflash: that building with the cross on it is NOT the church. WE are THE CHURCH! And everything we do or say does matter. A Christian is a representative of Christ and the only way to draw others to Him is to magnify Him, or make Him bigger, better to be seen, by telling of His goodness and mercy and daily showing the change He has made in our lives.
Discipling another is one of the biggest thrills of your Christian walk! And when you have invested in another, led them to Christ and lived Christ before them, they will then, in turn, do the same for someone else, for another little ship. It will not be drudgery for them because they have been taught well.
Remember, we are being watched; we are being followed, because someone is hungry for what we have. Let us be constant, consistent and LOVE all of the other little ships to the shore.