The shipwreck in the twenty-seventh chapter of Acts is the most detailed account of an ancient shipwreck in recorded history. However, this is not why Luke was led by the Holy Spirit to pen this record. This Scripture is an obvious example of a mature walk with God. It reveals our willingness or our refusal to give up all our excess baggage by lightening our ships to live a life of faith. As we continue toward the safe haven of the Lord, we will experience a continuous “lightening of our ship.”
Many Christians set sail on their newly born-again ocean of life with fair winds at their backs. They are mostly unaware of the storms they’ll encounter along this journey and perceive they have obtained life’s ultimate purpose. Be assured the storms will come and Christians will be required to lighten their ships. Acts 27: 14-16 “But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat:”
The progression of lightening the ship is simple; the first thing we try is to “come about the boat.” The lifeboat was not carried on the ship, but was pulled behind the ship with a rope. Our first response when the storms hit are to find a way out of the ship. It is only by staying in this world and living an overcoming life that we will be victorious.
The wrong step is to seek ungodly resolutions and unprofitable helps, not realizing that our ship of life will sink if we refuse to lighten the vessel. It will take our letting go of every worldly thing that is holding us back. Many material things and prideful attitudes must be exposed and expelled from our lives. Acts 27:19 “And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.”
Though the wealth of this world is considered a blessing, the time may come when it will be a burden; it will not only be too heavy for someone to carry to safety, but heavy enough to sink the one that has it. The children of this world can be wasteful of their wealth to make their own lives luxurious, yet are sparing of it in supporting the cause of Christ.
Every Christian should be willing to cast away all of his or her worldly possessions rather than their lives; but many would rather make shipwreck of their faith and a good conscience, than of their material goods. The tactics the sailors used did not work; it was only when they had given up all hope of saving themselves, they were open to God’s Word, and trust in His mercy through Jesus Christ.
They had tried the futile help of man, but that didn’t work—they had personally thrown the tacklings of their lives overboard, but it did not benefit their dilemma. It was only after they threw their life-sustaining provisions overboard that they could walk totally by faith. Acts 27:38 “When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.”
Once again, it is only the self-sacrificing children of God willing to lighten their ships of life that will make it to God’s safe haven. Acts 27:44 “And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”
We must be willing to stay in this world’s ship, ride out each storm in our lives and rid ourselves of every unnecessary baggage that we do not need for our final destination. I encourage you to examine yourselves—you may find yourselves throwing stuff overboard.