Setting Sail with Thomas and Jesus

Weaving together quotes from a famous one and The Famous One

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.”

Jesus said it like this in Matthew 28:19: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

When you buy a new car, it is perfect. The outside finish has the new car sparkle and shine, the inside has the new car smell. There is one (and only one) way to preserve the car in this pristine condition. Park it in a climate-controlled garage, drape a protective tarp over it, and never drive it. Now if you’ve just purchased a cherry, all-original, ’57 Chevy Bel Air convertible you might do exactly this. But most often, cars are bought to be driven. This subjects them to the dings in the door, pebbles kicked up into the windshield, and the infamous double-dip cone becoming a single-dip cone in the back seat.

When a new ship is commissioned, it is perfect. It’s hull is perfectly smooth, the deck has an unblemished coat of non-slip epoxy, and the bridge has that new-bridge smell (whatever that smells like). If the captain’s highest aim was to preserve his ship he would keep it in port. He might take the additional precaution of keeping it in dry dock and not even putting it in the water. While maintaining his ship is important, it is never the highest aim of the captain to keep it pristine. The captain is to set sail to assigned ports of call, to deliver cargo or passengers to their destinations. Thus, the ship will soon loose its new-ship sheen, the shine will dull, the hull may be damaged, barnacles may jump on for the ride.

Followers of Jesus are captains. And Jesus commands us to shove off from the dock and set sail. Our cargo is the Good News. Our ship is our life’s testimony offered as a living sacrifice to Him. Along the way, we’ll strike the floating logs of indifference, we’ll be tossed on the swells of ridicule, or even run aground in persecution’s shallow waters. But when our battered vessel comes limping into port, Jesus will not chastise us for the damage, but will say something like this: “Well done, good and faithful captain.”

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