In Acts 27 verses 10 -13 the Bible says, 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. 13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.
In the preceding verses, we saw that in Sidon, Julius, the Centurion gave Paul the liberty to visit his friends in the city and refresh himself. One would assume that such concession would extend to listening to him when Paul advised against proceeding with the journey. But it wasn’t so.
Know your job and know where sympathy ends. Some people would because of sympathy neglect their assignments. The Centurion wasn’t that way; he knew that if he allowed his personal sympathy for Paul to cloud his judgment, he would make mistakes that could cost the lives of people in the boat or the escape of the prisoners. So, he drew a thick line of separation between the two.
Three important life lessons from Acts 27:10-13.
Now, let’s dive into the three major life lessons we can deduce from those verses.
1. The Centurion trusted the experienced captain and owner of the boat more than Paul’s inexperience.
Paul may have by his profession, zeal for the Jewish religion and ultimately, his persecution, travelled a lot using the various means of transportation of his days. But he was certainly less experienced in marine navigation than the pilot and the owner of the boat. These are men that have spent decades on the sea, on that route and have experienced fair and rough weather. So, the Centurion was right to trust the experience of these men more than the inexperience of Paul
You can’t trade years of experience for simple suggestions in that moment of turmoil. At the time of crisis, you want to trust the wisdom of experienced men and not rely on unverified hypotheses. There are several reasons why people follow experienced people – they have results, they’ve seen similar ugly situations, they know what it takes to get you out of the mud to your destination etc.
However, here we also observe that this was beyond having physical marine experience. This was a spiritual matter that needed spiritual insight. Apostle Paul hadn’t a physical periscope with which to see, nor had he the years of experience of the captain of the boat. But he had a spiritual periscope that can pierce to see ahead, beyond what human eyes could view.
When the apostle was called by God, he conferred not with flesh and blood. He didn’t go to listen to human experience, he moved immediately into the field. Because sometimes, people can talk you out of God’s purpose for your life using their experience. They could make you begin to doubt your calling and abilities. That doesn’t mean that you don’t listen to counsels, but you should choose the experience you listen to – spiritually, professionally, career-wise etc.
When God sent the young prophet to give a message in 1Kings 13:11-25, he was told expressly never to enter anyone’s house, nor accept food and drinks. But on his way back he met an old prophet who deceived him into disbelieving God. The old prophet had experience but he had been abandoned by God. So, following his experience was bad.
The old prophet, just like Satan, knows that he has lost his place in God. But he didn’t want to go down alone. He wanted the young prophet to go down with him. Some sinners aren’t just sinners on their own. They don’t want to commit their sin in peace but want to involve others in their mess. The men of Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t want to commit sin among themselves but to sleep with the angels of heaven. What a detestable act. So, experience is great, but experience is not the answer to all.
2. The place they were at the moment wasn’t calm. The storms were raging.
This is another reason that made the Centurion decide to continue on the journey instead of waiting. No one wants to remain in the eye of a tornado.
Deciding on whether to stay or leave can be one of the most difficult decisions to take. To stay or leave one place for another, from one relationship to another, from one job to another, from one career path to another, from one office to another etc.
It’s true that you’re excited about the new things and experiences you’ll have but you don’t know if the new will actually be better than the old in the long run. You’re sad about the present state but you don’t know if it’s better to stay until the storm is calm or if the storm will drown you while you wait.
Sometimes, God desires that we leave where we are to the place He is calling us to come. He told Joshua “you have stayed long on this Mount, it’s time to move on to the promised land.” He asked Abraham to leave his father’s land to an unknown land.
But at other times, the Lord demands that we stay put in Gerar because He’ll bless us there. Because although Gerar may be restive and dry at the moment, it’ll be peaceful and blossoming tomorrow. And the new place you’re itching to move into today because it seems great may turn to Sodom & Gomorra tomorrow.
3. Suddenly there was a soft wind blowing and it seemed safe to sail on.
Here, we see something more than the previous point – the storms stopped, the boisterous waves ceased and the wind became favourably.
Interpreting natural or supernatural signs can be quite tasking atimes. While some signs may simply be natural phenomena, others may have great messages behind them. But distinguishing which falls into which category isn’t easy, even for those with experience in the field.
When Gideon asked God to cause dew to fall on the fleece that he had kept outside at night, and it happened, he was sure of the meaning. When he demanded the opposite and God granted his request, he was also sure of the meaning. Why? Because he specifically asked for the impossible and the impossible was granted to him.
But when a sign that you didn’t pray for is displayed, it’s quite difficult to understand whether God is asking you to go or to stay. And it can be quite confusing. No wonder, the disciples of Jesus had to humbly ask Him to explain in great detail the sign of His coming and of the end of the world because it’s easy to misinterpret the happenings of the day and get carried away by wars, rumours of wars, natural disasters, heresies etc.
This is where the Spirit of discernment and constant talk with Jesus in prayers and meditation, and through His Word, becomes a necessity. You can’t afford to lead your life on guesswork. You can’t afford not to give appropriate interpretation to the numerous signs that we face daily. But to do that, you need God’s Spirit of discernment and understanding of the times and seasons. He knows everything and He can guide when the signs are confusing.
Severally in life, the place we are in is stormy, cloudy, extremely windy and dark. We are so tired and frustrated that we desire to move out immediately. We feel a nudge, a kick on our behind asking us to leave less we perish. Wisdom demands that you borrow a telescope from Apostle Paul and peep into the future for proper understanding.
The coast ahead may be clear. The coast ahead may be more dangerous. But you’ll never know until you have ploughed with the Lord’s Heifer. You need Him to guide and guard you on your journey. For success in navigating the sea of life requires listening to the Person that knows the end from the beginning.
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Thanks for reading. Please, check out other interesting articles on this blog. God bless you.
Either way we need the Holy Spirit don’t we? Oh Lord… how I desire the grace to keep ‘ploughing’ with your ‘heifer’, a heart that would not grow hard to your rather tough persuasions, and ears that would not become deaf to your directions.
Thanks for such a good read. To your prayers, I say Amen.
May the Lord grant your requests in Jesus name. Amen.
Thanks for reading.