It had been a day of storytelling.
Launching out into a boat so that the audience on the seashore could hear more clearly, the young teacher, formerly from Nazareth, had shared great yarns about faith–three in particular.
Taking an ethereal subject, he translated it into the human and earthly. It was what he did best. He had no intention of having followers with heaven on their minds–not when there was still so much to do here on earth.
The first story was about a sower. The lesson was really simple. The seeds of hope, love, contentment, joy and even confrontation have to be sown–whether the inhabitants of Earth received them or not. You just never know what patch of soil might sprout promise.
Another story was about how to showcase faith. It really is not a private matter–it is something that needs to be shown forth, demonstrated, put on a candlestick so the light can fill the room.
And then there was that closing story that finished out the day. An inspiring one. “Faith is like a mustard seed…” In other words, it may be small, but its original girth does not foretell what it will eventually be. Don’t despise small beginnings.
At the end of the day this young teacher, Jesus, decided he wanted to go on a late-night sail across the sea to the other shore. It was a family aatmosphere, and so other folks who had been moved by the message decided to join him on the journey. Jesus had a big boat but those who followed him were in little ships. Exhausted, Jesus grabbed a pillow and headed to the back of the boat to get a snooze on the way across.
Then the atmosphere changed. (It nearly always does.) Into a quiet, peaceful night, a storm arose–a big one. The waves began to splash into the boat.The disciples were frightened. All the stories of faith dissipated in the presence of this threat. They screamed at Jesus, asking him why he didn’t do something. Why didn’t he care that they were dying?
Every teacher in the world will understand his feelings at that point. What is the purpose of sharing a lesson if no one applies it?
But Jesus had other concerns. This was no time to put the disciples to the test to see if they could survive their anxieties. Because, you see, there were other little ships. And if the big boat was in trouble then the little ships were in desperate straits.
So Jesus calmed the storm–not because he wanted to appease twelve frightened men in a big boat, but because he was concerned about the little ships.
Jesus was always sensitive to the little ships. Matter of fact, he made it clear that if we don’t take care of the “least,” we’re really not in fellowship with him at all.
We’ve lost our hearts for the little ships.
Storms come to our country and ravage the land and we scream to the government to help us rebuild our houses. Meanwhile, the least of these–the little ships–aren’t even getting water and food to survive.
I spent three days this year locked up in a hot house, sweating, my brain fried because I had none of the conveniences of which I was accustomed. I was fit to be tied.
In Puerto Rico, it’s been many,many days without food, water, cooling and relief.
Can we care about what’s happening to the little ships, or are we only concerned for our own losses and perishing?
That night, terrified disciples were saved because Jesus took care of the little ships.
I suggest that if we find the little ships in our lives, in the process of doing so, all the boats will be brought safely to the shore.