“A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships were made for.” ―Anonymous
I was blessed to have spent time with Neil Cole, author with a heart for missional discipleship, in Atlanta a couple weeks ago. Myself and other from ODC will get to spend another 5 hours with him this Thursday. Its one of his writings I am reflecting on, he talks about the Queen Mary.
The Queen Mary sits prominently in one of the busiest harbors of the world. She has been there for five decades, unmoved. The Queen Mary is a hotel, encased in a rock jetty. Tourists who come to Long Beach, CA and love to see this famous attraction. But visitors are only seeing a faint shadow of the ship she once was. She was once the finest cruise liner on the seven seas. During World War 2 she was used to transport injured military personnel. The Queen was meant to be out on the high seas, but now she is on the AAA’s list of three-and-a-half star hotels. She remindeds me of a hollowed-out leader who only dreams of glories long past.
We are all familiar with the tragedy of the Titanic, but the Queen Mary is another sort of tragedy. If I had to choose a destiny, I would rather go out in glory on my maiden voyage like the Titanic than be stuck rusting in a harbor, never to make another ripple in the ocean. Award winning movies are made of one story, not the other.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” There is nothing sadder then a beautiful song that is never sung. Many of us are like the Queen Mary—safe, secure, and not what we were meant to be. Many of us settle for lesser lives, for stories not worth telling. We are being called to a higher story, a bigger tale that will be told to future generations.
The Lord of the Rings is an epic battle of good versus evil where simple folk win the day against overwhelming odds––because they had each other and a cause worth dying for. In one scene, looking off at the ruins Sam said, “It’s like the great stories, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?”
His spirits lifted as he went on, “But in the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folks in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.”
“What are we holding onto, Sam?” Frodo sighed, still recovering from the near defeat of the previous moment. Sam, determined to help his brother whom he would gladly die for, lifted Frodo to his feet, looked him sternly in the eyes, and said, “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”
We all need a friend like Sam when we face the overwhelming odds in this battle. We also need to be a friend like Sam. The struggle against the evil that dominates this world is bad enough; to go through this fight alone is too much. We must have a small band of brothers and sisters who would give their lives for us, for the cause…for Jesus. We need to be such people. We all need something important enough, worthy enough to give our lives for.There is conflict. There is evil that wants to destroy you. There will be pain and loss in this battle with evil, but the struggle is worth it. Any great story has conflict; that is what makes the story worth the telling.
There would not be three major motion pictures, dozens of Oscars, and a billion dollars in revenue if there was no struggle involved with the Lord of the Rings stories. If the Hobbits never left home, but stayed in the Shire, under the party tree smoking pipe weed, we would not really be all that interested in the stories. The conflict makes the struggle compelling.
If we can stick together and pull each other through, much like Sam and Frodo, I believe we can defeat the enemy and win this war. “If God is for us, who can be against us?!” (Romans 8:31) There will be great stories to tell our children’s children. These are the days where stories of waitresses, retired engineers, high school kids, nurses, blue-collar workers, and simple gardeners, like Sam, in the power of the Holy Spirit, overcome incredible evil to bring change and hope back to humanity.
You were filled with the Holy Spirit and created for good works that have been foreordained by God for the destruction of evil strongholds and to set captives free! Do not settle for rusting in the harbor over the decades. Please don’t! Set sail on the oceans of risk and let God lead you to stories that are worthy of being told, worthy of dying for, because God is worthy of It.
The great American author Mark Twain once commented, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Take 10 minutes now and watch the video by Francis Chan below on being sent in the Spirit. It was made to accompany chapter six of his book "The Forgotten God," but it ties in perfectly with my final message on sending
This is number 24 of 24 reflections of mine on the attributes the Holy Spirit. I pray it has encouraged, convicted, and motivated you to obediently press into the life, full of the Holy Spirit you have been wonderfully created by God to live out. Please share any reflections or comments on this message below in the comment box below. Also, I would appreciate all comments and feedback on these past 24 messages on the Holy Spirit either below in the comments box, or privately to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.