DON’T MAKE A DECISION UNDER DURESS
“Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.” (Acts 27:9—12)
Paul sees a disastrous voyage ahead of them and gives a warning to his ship captain. We all have choices in life. We can either heed the warning or ignore it. People have many reasons why they ignore warnings. In this passage, they were pressured for time and dateline to be at their intended destination. Another reason is pressure from people around you. Still, another reason is the unsuitable situation where one is at. Sometimes it has to do with season one in their journey.
On the other hand, there are good reasons why one must heed warnings or good advice. Heeding warnings and wise advice give one safety even in an unsuitable situation. Wise advice spares all of us from the painful consequences of making a decision because of pressure from datelines and people’s expectations.
Paul was the one unpopular voice the sheep captain should listen to. The centurion on the ship moved to decide to sail because the MAJORITY decided that they should sail on. Paul’s sound advice was drowned out by the advice of the pilot and the owner of the ship, and the MAJORITY of the people who wanted to make the journey.
How regrettable that a few verses after this, the ship experience a violent storm that Paul warned them about, and it falls apart. I am reminded that right is not always on the side of the majority. Just because the majority of people agree on something does not make it right. We all suffered the consequences of trying to please the crowd. Paul was NOT afraid to voice what he saw and discern and sound the alarm whether people received it or not. When one stands alone in the truth, the majority’s opinions do not matter. What matters is my accountability to the truth. Let others make decisions under duress of datelines and opinions of others, but we must heed the voice of wisdom even if it is unpopular. I am learning that God is not always with the majority. God’s voice is often ignored because it comes from an unexpected, unpopular place or unknown person.
I somewhat feel at times like the pilot and owner of the ship, along with the majority of the people, are pressured by the datelines and expectations of many. I learned today that I must listen to a piece of advice and wisdom, even from someone whom I may not know or expect wise advice from. I am reminded not to be pressured by time and datelines but to be led by the Holy Spirit and directed by him to the best way to move forward.
Jesus, teach me to hear you clearly and to move in the direction of your will. Help me drown out the voice of my planned agendas and be led by your Holy Spirit to do what I must do. I need your wisdom and guidance in every circumstance. I need to hear your voice clearly as you confirm the plans that I have on my calendar. Lead and guide me, Jesus, Amen!