Archive for January 7th, 2008

A Loooong Lesson Learned

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Acts 27:1-26 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Ben Lamb):

When prisoner Paul is being carted off to Italy, he tries to tell his guard that the journey by ship will be “with danger and much heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” Understandably — from their point of view — nobody pays him much attention.

After much danger, heavy loss of cargo and a banged-up ship, the crew pays him much attention! Paul sort of rubs it in by way of his Paulian manner: “Men, you should have listened to me…” At the risk of offending Paul’s supporters, I’m going to take issue with him here and suggest he might have done better to have begun his response differently.

In verse 10, Paul warns of “much heavy loss. . . also of our lives.” Fortunately however, nobody died during days and days of dangerous times. Then all of a sudden, Paul gets up and says in verses 21-24: “there will be no loss of life. . . there stood by me an angel of God and he said. . . God has granted safety to all sailing with you.”

Why the incongruence between the prediction of Paul (man of God) and the angel (messenger of God)? I’m no logic major, but it seems to be one of two reasons:

  1. God told Paul the original version just to scare the daylights out of him as a joke for several days, or
  2. Paul didn’t consult with God in the first place before expressing his personal opinion

Since choice #1 doesn’t seem feasible to me, I’ll have to vote for choice #2.

I’m not intending to diminish the truly marvelous work Paul did to spread Jesus’ teaching to humanity. I’m merely pointing out that even the greatest among us isn’t immune to wanting to save face at times. Count me among them. (Not “greatest”, but “wanting to save face”!)

It’s embarrassing to admit things to others. I hate to have to say:

“I was wrong.”

“Remember when we disagreed? Well — you were right.”

“I’m sorry.”

But, as I go along in life, I’m finally figuring out that things do get easier with practice.

Thought for the day: God, remind me to admit what I need to admit — and help me be willing to follow through with it to the right people.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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