April/May 2014 - Vol. 73

.Fixed Point
by Rob Clarke

A couple of years back,  I crewed on a 120 ft Sailing Ship for ten days. We sailed from Waterford along the South Coast of Ireland, anchoring each evening wherever we could find a bit of shelter. It is a stunning piece of coast.. absolutely gorgeous. We were accompanied by dolphins and we feasted on fresh mackerel.

Built over 50 years ago, the three masted ketch,  had a lovely elegance. It moved well under sail. The ship would rise up and then plunge forward on the swell of the ocean. Accompanied of course by the creak in the ropes as the tensions shifted.

One afternoon the captain invited me to take the helm. Excited at the thought of steering the ship, I leapt up to take the wheel. Keeping the boat moving in a straight line turned out to be pretty tricky. Try as I might to anticipate the constant shift in direction – the wind and the waves kept knocking me off course. Looking astern anyone could see the ship was ploughing a very wiggly line…

Seeing my difficulty the captain encouraged me to take a landmark on the distant horizon and use that as a point of reference. It made all the difference. Just looking a few hundred yards ahead and trying to go straight I was all over the shop... but once I fixed on a landmark on the horizon I was able to keep the ship on course.

So much of life is like that... the short term stuff… the new car... difficulties at work… the foreign holiday… the upcoming exam... these things can pull us in all kinds of directions... The key is to have a clear long term goal. Some kind of overarching vision for life that helps us put all the short term stuff in perspective..

Lent is a time to reassess. It is a time to make space to look at the big picture. Lent is a good time to take a fix on our long term goals.

St. Paul was a pretty focused kind of guy. Reflecting on his long term goals he writes, I consider everything a loss – compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:8). He had found a fixed point on the horizon to steer for...

To Know Jesus Christ... that was his goal.

This article was originally published in Life Blog, (c) March 2014 Spirit Radio, Ireland. Used with permission.

Rob Clarke is the CEO for Spirit Radio, a national Christian radio station for Ireland online and also on am and fm. Originally from New Zealand, Rob moved to Dublin in 1987 and has worked extensively in Christian leadership and is a regular conference speaker. Rob and his wife Anne are members of Nazareth Community in Dublin. They have six children.

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