“Last summer,” Stan began, “my wife and I were on a road trip on the highway that runs along the coast of the Pacific Ocean.”
“That’s a beautiful part of God’s creation,” I replied.
“It is,” Stan said, “but we saw something that was not only not beautiful, it was downright ugly.”
“What was that?”
“There was a big ship, an oil tanker, that had run aground and was leaking oil into the ocean and up on the beach. It was a real mess. There was a big cleanup operation going on.”
“Do you know how that happened?” I asked.
“Not sure,” he replied, “but I suppose someone failed to heed warnings, wasn’t paying attention to the danger, lost control of the ship, or something similar.”
“The apostle Paul,” he continued, “wrote about something similar in one of his letters to his friend Timothy. As well, I consider he wrote that letter to me.”
“He was writing about a shipwreck?”
“Yes,” Stan replied. “Shipwrecked lives.”
“Shipwreck lives? That’s a pretty vivid picture. How can that happen?”
“Failure to heed warnings. Paul put it in terms of the failure to keep faith and good conscience.”
“Faith and good conscience?” I replied, “Do you think that’s really a necessary warning?”
“Paul thought it was; so do I,” Stan responded. “Paul was warning Timothy about others who had failed to keep their faith and good conscience and, as a result, suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.”
“I would guess,” I replied, “that if people suffer that kind of shipwreck in their faith, there will probably be some sort of leaking mess that needs to be cleaned up.”
“More than a guess, my friend,” Stan replied. “Closer to a certainty. That’s why it’s important to heed the shipwreck warnings that are all around us. I take those warnings seriously because I don’t want to end up running aground on the rocks of the world, the flesh, and the devil. There are plenty of warnings to heed. I just need to pay attention and do what’s necessary.”
Bible verses to consider:
This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. 1 Timothy 1:18, 19.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you give me all of the warnings I need to avoid being shipwrecked in regard to my faith. You know all of the help I need in keeping faith and good conscience. I ask for all of the help you can provide. Please lead and help me to follow so I maintain good sailing with you and avoid crashing on the rocks of this life that are laid out by the world, the flesh, and the devil. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Being shipwrecked in our faith is a vivid word picture. What can cause such a shipwreck? How can it be avoided? If a person suffers such a shipwreck, is there a remedy? If so, what is it?