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