Ships That Pass

Thursday, July 8, 2021
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Bringing In The Sheaves"1 (Lyrics)

My tablemate and I were discussing how unexpectedly matters seem to develop. She is the aunt of my deceased daughter-in-law, and I first met her over four decades ago. Now, with all the things that have transpired over those many years, we are both living in a residence and sitting at the same table, sharing meals prepared for us.

Eileen quoted a phrase from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "Ships that pass in the night", and I recalled an experience that I had in 1959.

My wife and I were travelling by ship from Montreal, Canada, to Southampton, England. At the same time, my aunt and uncle sailed from Liverpool, England, to Montreal.

Each party shared this knowledge with the captains of our vessels, in the hope that we could communicate somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic during our seven-day journey.

Late one evening, my wife and I received word that we were to proceed to the captain's deck, since my aunt and uncle's vessel was drawing near.

As the lights grew brighter, the captains of each vessel connected and then allowed my aunt and uncle to have a brief but meaningful conversation with my wife and me.

As I recalled this experience, I realized that there were several spiritual lessons that I learned that day. In order to connect with my aunt and uncle, I had to speak to my captain, listen to him, believe in him, and follow his directions, or I would have been lost. I could have paced the ship's deck day and night, and perhaps even seen lights in the distance but never would have had the pleasure of a meaningful radio conversation.

Similarly, to enjoy the abundant life, we must acknowledge God as our Captain, speak to Him in prayer, listen to Him, believe in Him, and follow His directions.

We interact daily with so many, even in times of COVID-19 restrictions. Although we may feel that we are like passing ships and that we may never see one another again, we are called by God to share His love in kindness. What really matters is how we treat the passing ships that we meet.

Colossians 3:12 – Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (NLT)

The important thing is that we listen to our God and follow His command to sow seeds of kindness in even small matters and then leave the rest to Him.

I am reminded of the words of the great hymn, "Bringing in the sheaves".

    Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
    Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
    Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
    We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
           – George A. Minor

Prayer: Dear Father, we are grateful that You are ever-present, showing us the way. Help us to accept Your leading and show Your loving kindness in everything that we do. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Vincent Walter <>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    As always, Vince, a good word from your experiences.

    Hello Vince,
    Thank you for today’s devotional.

    Thank you for this wonderful message this morning.

    Thank you, Vincent, for sharing this interesting devotional with us. Blessings.

    Dear Vincent
    We always enjoy your devotions. Today was really wonderful.

    Vince, it’s like having a conversation with you as you share these memories. You bring that personal touch to your devotionals.

    Thank you, Vincent, for your message. Kindness seems to have fallen by the wayside in these times of COVID. Thanks for the reminder.

    You are an amazing man whom God has used to tell so many stories that are honest and true and resonate with me whenever I read you. Blessings on your life today.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely memory. Such a fine example and so easy to digest.
    Keep on writing as your lessons are a blessing.

    Dear Vincent,
    Your rare and interesting experience was like out of a movie, and your applications gained, precious. I appreciate your writing.

    Thank you, Vincent, for this devotional. As I grow older, I have come to accept how much God is responsible for my blessings and how little I can take credit for these blessings given me. Your reflections are such blessings.

    Hello Vince
    Thank you for this today. How exciting that must have been to talk on the radio. It truly does go easier when we listen and obey the voice of our ‘Captain’.
    God bless you.

    Oh Vincent, your story of the communication that you experienced in 1959 literally brought tears to my eyes. Then, you beautifully drew such an easy to understand parallel to speak, listen, obey, and follow our Captain! What a great start to my journey today! Thank you so much for sharing such a meaningful message!

    Hello Vincent, and how good to be in touch again. We lean on the ONE who is in charge. As for your very special devotional goes, it is so extra special to me since my precious husband spent several years aboard ships and would be gone months at a time. That was in the early 60s when communications were very difficult, so you know how I love your true story. When he was on another ship. Each story brings out spiritually valuable lessons for us. God bless you real good.

    Dear Walter,
    Thank you for the devotion published in PresbyCan for today July 8.
    My wife and I live in a residence in a suburb of Montreal. Last night I received a call from family in Egypt. This morning I expect a call from family in Germany.
    We always wonder at the advance in technology that enables us not only to hear from each other but also see each other.
    We can draw from these daily experiences’ lessons about communication. Communication with God in prayer and in reading His word.
    Thanks for your story.
    (QC, Canada)

    Dear Vincent,
    That is interesting that you would be in the same residence with someone you know. Or maybe it was planned to go somewhere that you knew someone liked. You definitely have had some interesting experiences over your lifetime. Nice that you would be passing in the Atlantic on different ships your aunt and uncle and that two captains would help to arrange a radio conversation. I think that is delightful.
    It is so important as you say that we connect with God, listen, believe, and obey. If we are doing this, we will be spreading good news and kindness into this world. It is important to start our day centred with God so that we are prompted by the Holy Spirit to reach out to “ships that are passing” in order to show respect, love, patience, peace, goodness in our posture, in our words, in our smiles and in our eyes so we radiate God’s love outwards, and he can use that for His Good.

    Thank you – I do enjoy your words of wisdom and so do the friends with whom I share your devotionals.

    Good afternoon Vincent. Thank you for this amazing story and devotional. I absolutely like your metaphor where you compare listening to an earthly captain, like we should our dear Lord in heaven every day.
    Love the story, That is amazing. I always love your devotionals, Vince. I could sit and listen to you share your stories for hours and parallels to the Holy Trinity.
    Blessings dear brother in Christ,

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