Yesterday’s short term challenge was to think of a few ways that you can be more dedicated to Christ. I’m taking a class on prosperity and stewardship at church on Thursday nights, and the pastor talked a little bit about Luke 16:10, which basically says if you’re faithful in little things, you can be trusted to be faithful with big things. I tied that into the idea of being more dedicated to Christ and being trustworthy and responsible. If I can’t be dedicated to the little things, like staying on task at work or making sure our budget is balanced, then Jesus can’t and won’t trust me to be dedicated to bigger things, like a better job or more money. So, that’s how I’m going to be more dedicated; I’m going to work on being faithful in the little so I can honor Him and be entrusted with more. I haven’t thought about my long-term challenge yet, so I need to get on that!
Today’s chapter is called Avoiding the Shipwreck.
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Focus Verse: Don’t dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders. Leaders can’t afford to make fools of themselves, gulping wine and swilling beer, lest, hung over, they don’t know right from wrong, and the people who depend on them are hurt. Use wine and beer only as sedatives, to kill the pain and dull the ache of the terminally ill, for whom life is a living death. (Proverbs 31:3-7, The Message).
What does Bathsheba mean by “shipwreck[ing] leaders.” Unless you’re a sea captain reading this on the satellite Internet on your boat, then you probably aren’t worrying about literal shipwrecks.
(I really wanted to make a landlubbers joke here, but my brain just wouldn’t work. Insert your own joke…).
A shipwreck, plain and simple, is a mistake. One way to avoid shipwrecks or making mistakes is to have a life-long attitude of learning. As a librarian, I fully support this idea, especially because it’s Biblical! Sarah uses an example of getting ready to buy a car and ignoring the warnings of friends who have made the mistake of buying a particular model that’s terrible. Since you didn’t learn from their mistakes, you make your own mistake and end up with a shipwreck of a car.
Okay, maybe I didn’t put that as eloquently as Sarah did in the chapter (this is why you should buy the book and why I shouldn’t write late at night!, but you can see where she was going with that, right?
Shipwrecks cost time, energy, money, and resources. But, if you listen to those who have already wrecked, you can save time, energy, money, and resources. I don’t know a single person who would rather waste those things instead of listening to someone with wisdom and experience! If you don’t have anyone in your life that you can get advice from, remember that the Bible is full of practical advice that can help you stay the course.
Another way to avoid shipwrecks is to avoid addictions. Bathsheba warns her son against promiscuous women and alcohol, which could both be considered addictions. No one intends to become addicted to anything, but as Sarah says, sin is addictive from the first moment. She talks about praying for what she wants to be addicted to- Jesus- instead of praying against addictions like chocolate or drugs. Her reasoning is that what she prays for becomes a focus, so she wants to focus on the right things. This is brilliant! This goes back to chapter 1 and the idea of keeping good things in your mind instead of negative junk. If you’re currently experiencing an addiction, even one as seemingly harmless as playing a game on your phone, then try praying for an addiction to Jesus and see if that changes your prayer life and your viewpoint!
Can shipwrecks ever be a good thing? Surprisingly, yes! Sarah says that a true pioneer will make many mistakes, but they will be mistakes no one has made before. Sometimes you have to get a little off course and messed up before God can step in and navigate you back to smooth sailing. Shipwrecks can teach you perseverance also. After the first time you get battered and beaten down, you’ll realize that it’s not so bad and be less hesitant to fail or make mistakes. Plus, you don’t want to live with the constant fear that your failures and mistakes are going to break you. Sarah ended the chapter with these two lines: “If you live on the edge, shipwrecks and failure are sure to come your way for a season. Push past it; your dreams will come.” In other words, strap on your lifejacket and get ready for the ride of your life!
Today’s challenge: Do a little soul-searching. Is there anything in life that you should avoid? Anything that is starting to become a bit of an addiction? Make steps to rid yourself of it today! As Sarah said, amazing people are in control of their lives and their problems. Oh man. This one is good but tough!