Shipwreck!

David Bast

Read: Acts 27:13-44

So take heart. (v. 25)

Luke’s account of his and Paul’s (notice the “we” in verses 16 and 27) voyage and shipwreck on the way to Rome is one of the great narrative passages in the Bible. But what is the point? Two complementary truths emerge from the story. The first is that God is always in control. Storms may come, we might even have to go through a shipwreck, but God is managing it all. It’s as if the Lord says, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this. You’ll make it.” “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar” (v. 24).

The second great truth is that our actions matter. We may be tempted to think that because God is sovereign and is working out his purposes, it doesn’t really matter whether we do anything or not. We can just sort of sit back and let God do his thing. But that’s not what we see in Acts 27. I’m especially impressed by something Paul says. When the sailors try to steal the lifeboat and sneak off to shore, Paul grabs the centurion. He knows that without the crew to man the ship, they won’t last the night. So he tells the Roman soldier, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved” (v. 31). Wait, didn’t God assure Paul everyone would be saved? Yes. But if the sailors leave, they won’t be saved? Yes, again. Here’s the point. God works his will through us.God’s purpose is invincible, but our efforts are indispensable. —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, help me to do my part in what you are doing in the world.