The Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon has played a major role in my faith. His powerfully poignant words have refreshed and taught me again and again. The wisdom God imparted to him has deepened my understanding of scripture and enlightened my thinking.
“I cannot create the wind of the Holy Spirit, but I can set my sail to receive it”. These words by C.H. Spurgeon in his sermon There Go the Ships inspired me to share a contemporary excerpt. Perhaps one reason the sermons of Charles Spurgeon are not found on the bookshelves of every Christian is due to the Old English style of his writings that are indicative of his lifetime. Perhaps a 2.0 version of There Go the Ships will capture you as it captured me.
The Psalmist, David penned “There go the ships” in Psalm 104:26. David would have observed ships that were moved by their sails. Here are many lessons for Christians. The ships go according to the wind. They cannot hope to move without favorable gusts of wind. If our port is heaven, we will not get there short of the blessed Spirit blowing upon us. We are dependent upon God’s Spirit, even more than the mariner is upon the gale.
But still, the mariner does not go by wind alone; the ship goes largely because the of the mariner’s own part. The sails must be spread and managed correctly to make use of the wind. One man may sail many knots while another may go only a few feet because of how they manage their sails. Management is required. Some people believe that the ship goes by itself, but there is a great deal of work to be done upon the vessel. There are some who may picture the sailor lying back enjoying himself while the wind does all the work.
Christians take note: we are dependent upon the Spirit of God, but if we sit back and say “the Spirit of God will do all the work”, you will find the Spirit of God will do no such thing. The Spirit of God makes us impassioned, fierce and fully alive. The scripture does not say, “He works in us to act in order to fulfill our good purpose”, but rather “He works in us to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” Philippians 2:13. We have sails to catch the favoring winds and if we manage them wisely, we will obtain the strength we need to make good headway in the voyage of life.
The man upon the ship is also responsible for the helm which steers the ship. Though it is the smallest apparatus on board the ship, it rules the vessel. As the helm is turned, the vessel is guided. Look to it Christians, that your motives and purposes are always right. Your love is the helm of your vessel that guides you. If your love is for the world, then you will drift with the world, but if the love of the Father is in you, you will drift toward God and things that are divine. See to it that Christ is at the helm and that he guides you towards his perfect peace.