James 3:4 – Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. (RSV)
One night not too long ago, I watched on television an old movie, "Sink the Bismarck". The story retold the sinking of the German battleship during World War II. The Bismarck was considered to be the last word in ocean warfare — powerful, almost invincible! After a tense chase over the North Atlantic, she was ultimately brought down by an British destroyer. The destroyer was able to do this because a British airplane had earlier sent a torpedo into the stern of the ship, disabling her rudder. Without her rudder, the Bismarck became a "sitting duck", helpless against attack from the smaller destroyer. As James pointed out so long ago, the ability to choose the direction in which we are going is crucial to survival, success, and the achievement of our goals. No matter how strong we think ourselves, we become vulnerable to the smallest attack from the destroyer of souls if we lose control of our vessel.
As Rick Warren has pointed out in a recent book, ours must be a "Purpose-Driven Life" if we wish to live for Jesus. We have an excellent pilot, Jesus Christ, and charts in the Bible by which to steer. The control of the purpose and direction of our lives is in our hands, but we must have an effective rudder! Many a life has ended tragically because control of the path across the sea of life was lost. Jesus has paid the price of our freedom and has given us a goal for which to aim, but leaves a vital measure of control in our hands!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for entrusting each of us with the power to direct the life You have given us. Help us, now, to keep our hands upon the tiller and to sail safely through the storms of life until we reach our desired haven, our final refuge in You. Amen.
Editor's Note: Rev. Harold Moddle passed away on Thursday morning, December 8, 2005, of a heart attack while in hospital recovering from a three-week struggle with an extremely serious bout of pneumonia. His devotional contributions to the PCCWeb Daily, drawn from the depth and breadth of his experience in serving Christ and His people, have been full of insight, have reflected a clear and warm love for Jesus Christ and a desire to lead others into a saving faith in Him, and have evidenced a desire for all of us to live faithfully in obedient and joyful service to Him. Harold had been the minister at Alderwood United Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for many years.