Acts 27: 33-44
Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. ‘For the last fourteen days,’ he said, ‘you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food – you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.’ After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. Altogether there were 276 of us on board.
When daylight came, they did not recognise the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could…. But the ship struck a sand-bar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf…. the centurion…ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.
Paul and the others eventually make it to shore. After enduring a horrendous, life-threatening storm for over 2 weeks, they reach dry land. What I find most incredible is just how things have changed during the course of the storm.
At the beginning of the journey, Paul was a nobody and his advice was completely ignored. He had no power, status or authority. Now he’s the leader on the boat, he’s telling them what they should do and they’re following his instructions.
Storms have a tendency to level status. When you go through a storm titles or positions don’t mean so much anymore. What matters most in a crisis is courageous leadership, conviction of a greater calling and Godly confidence.
Look again at what we read:
“…I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost…”
“…keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God…”
The word ‘encourage’ literally means to infuse or impart courage into others. It conveys inspiring hope, determination or confidence. Paul here speaks powerful words of encouragement. But more than that, he models what he wants to see in everyone else. He exhorts them to eat some food. At first they are reluctant so he takes bread and eats in front of them. His example is enough to persuade them to try some for themselves.
The reality is that without Paul none of the 276 on board would have survived. The angel who has visited him the night before made this very clear:
“Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” (v. 24)
The favour upon Paul covered everyone connected to him. His leadership steered them through stormy waters and even complete shipwreck. They lost the boat but they kept their lives.
Never underestimate the importance of Godly leadership. When we choose to willingly and joyfully place ourselves under God-appointed leaders, there is a grace and favour that spills over from their lives into ours. Don’t we also see that in the story of Joseph?:
“…the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.” (Gen 39: 5)
“The warder paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” (Gen 39: 23)
The blessing and favour that’s on Joseph is transferred to everyone around him.
God brings men and women into our lives and the favour that’s He’s placed on them spills over onto us and brings us into a greater experience of His goodness. They help calm storms in our lives, bring order out of chaos, steer us away from danger and move us towards our destiny.
This Sunday we have the incredible opportunity to affirm collectively the leadership of Neil and Janet Young as they are publicly commissioned as the new senior leaders of CCV. As we begin this new chapter of our journey together as a community, we want to express our full support of this Godly and gifted couple who have been called to lead us into God’s good future. On Sunday we will do this through celebration, prayer and the laying on of hands.
We look forward to seeing you this Sunday at 9.30 am and 11.30 am for the commissioning of Neil and Janet. At 7.00 pm we will have an extended time of worship followed by a BBQ.