Thursday, April 16, 2015

Poor Sources for Good Counsel

Acts 27:11-13 KJV
Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.
And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.
And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.
  
The centurion was in a strait. He was responsible for his men as well as his prisoners and, because they have apparently commandeered this vessel, the captain and sailors too. The centurion had a duty to perform but he had to perform that duty while taking into consideration seasons, weather, and the morale of the men.

The harbor he found himself in was not the best for winter quarters, but voyaging farther that time of the year was dangerous. Paul, a prisoner, but a man with unnatural[1] talents, had advised him that to go further was not a wise idea. But other voices pushed him to push ahead. Thus he did and the rest, as they say, is history.

I see here three poor sources for good counsel:
Money
The master and the owner of the ship wanted to push ahead. While the centurion had an agenda and responsibility, the ship's master was motivated not by duty but by money. He had financially reasons to move on.

Majority
The more part of the company; I take that to be both soldiers and sailors urged the centurion to depart. We love a good democratic vote, don't we? But there is a reason our forefathers in America chose a republican form of government over a democratic one. A majority will frequently act, not in their own best interests, but under the influence of the crowd. Leadership takes into consideration the wishes of the people but must sometimes overrule those wishes for sound judgment.

Mild circumstances
Just because a way seems easy does not mean it is the best or safest. Jesus set before us two roads. One, the broad way seems right and good. It is the direction the majority is traveling. But it also leads to destruction. The other road is strait and narrow and but a few ever choose it. It appears to be the rougher, lonelier and less desirable way. But Jesus assured us that it is the way to eternal life.

Obviously the milder way isn't always the better way. We all find ourselves in challenging situations here and there. We come to crossroads in our life when we must choose. It is wise to remember that, whatever we choose, we are always choosing for others beside ourselves. It may be friends neighbors and family. It might be children and grandchildren yet in the future but every choice in some way involves others.

Money, the majority and the easy way are seldom good sources for counsel in those times.



[1] Supernatural ones; they were of the Holy Spirit