Hazelwood – Are we all really in the same boat?
“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”” Genesis 6: 5-7 (NIV)
Now before you roll your eyes, or skip to the next article, I am not going to write about how this is the end of times. HAVE FAITH and read on.
The other day I read a commentary by someone complaining about the inconsiderate actions of others during these times. They were arguing in terms of self-isolation, going to work, and so on. They claimed, “We are all in the same boat here and some of you are going to cause us to sink.” As I read the commentary, mostly because I was curious as to how their “thesis” was going to play out, I began to think; and as usually happens, my “little grey cells” sent me down many a different avenue. The way my brain works can sometimes be a lot more fun than walking a mile in my shoes!
The commentary went on to say, “We are all in the same boat - Noah’s family were all the same boat and they survived by cooperating!”
Ok, so if that’s the case, we should be able to learn something from the Noah story. Guess what! We can! There are lots of sites out there that have a title like: “All I Really Need To Know, I Learned From Noah's Ark.” Some of them are well worth repeating here.
- Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark;
- Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big;
- Don't listen to critics -- do what you believe has to be done;
- Remember that the woodpeckers INSIDE are often a bigger threat than the storm outside;
- Don't miss the boat; and
- If you can't fight or flee -- float!
But what if we change the frame of reference just a bit?
The “we are all in the same boat” statement is absolutely true when it comes to Teresa and me; to my children and their families; and to you and whomever you share the same boat (domicile). It is not correct to claim that you, I, or anyone else is in the same boat. Our individual circumstances differ in so many ways that it might be better to say, “We are all in different boats trying to weather the same storm.”
If we can accept that revised “thesis” then allow me to extend the metaphor and say that our congregation is made of many different boats, yachts, or ships – each with their own Captain – but all part of “God’s Navy.”
The customary law of the sea is that the master (Captain) of any vessel is duty bound to ensure those in distress at sea are rendered assistance. Jesus has given us the same command – “Love one another” – and I am so excited to see how people in our congregation are stepping up to love and render assistance to others. Whether it be preparing and delivering meals, helping with shopping, cutting the lawn or making a telephone “Buddy Check” with someone, just to see how they are doing. The building is closed but the church is definitely open! Thank you.
Yes there are going to be those who appear to be inconsiderate in their actions; try to be understanding – we have no idea the condition of their boat. Love on them, and introduce them to the one who calms the storm.
We will get through this! When we do so, we have no idea how the world will look, or how our daily way of life will change, but God does. Trust in him and keep doing what you’re doing; keep loving each other; and never stop seeking out those “in peril on the sea” and rendering whatever assistance you can. If you find yourself in peril, send out that SOS – we’re all listening and ready to respond.
About a year after the flood began, God gave Noah and his family clearance to disembark and restart their lives. Did they immediately go out and throw a party? No they didn’t.
Once his duties of ensuring all the occupants of the ark were safely ashore, Noah made a burnt offering to thank the Lord for bringing them safely through the flood. “The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though[a] every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8: 21-22 (NIV)
One other thing I learned from Noah’s story: “No matter how bleak things may look, there will be a rainbow on the other side.”
Stay safe, stay well and God Bless,