CENTERBOARD DOWN


Years ago, at Boy Scout camp, I took a merit badge course in sailing. The course was designed to cover the basics in sailing. Going into the course, I am now sad to admit, I had a pretty arrogant attitude. Having been a person who was water skiing since I was seven and driving speed boat at ten, I thought I would have this sailing “thing” down quickly.

The second session of the course, I got in my trusty 14 foot sail boat, hoisted my sail like the best of sailors, lowered the rudder into the water and eagerly pushed off from the dock. Within moments, though, I started to panic. For some reason, the wind was blowing my boat sideways across the water, very quickly pushing me right into a significantly larger boat. I quickly checked all the necessities and still was confused, beginning to panic at the thought of having to face a huge crowd of snickering Scouts for my folly. Then, I heard a loud voice; it came from the bullhorn of our instructor, “put your centerboard down.” Well, everyone in the class looked at me as if I was some sort of idiot. You see, you cannot sail a boat that has NO centerboard. It is what gives you the opportunity to maneuver. Without it, you are at the mercy of the winds and your own incompetence.

In life, it doesn’t take long to realize that we all need a centerboard when it comes to navigating the ever-challenging and difficult winds of our lives. There are winds blowing in all sorts of directions, trying to take you here and there in this culture. You constantly hear messages to “buy that, do this, take advantage of people, live for yourself, and indulge your every appetite…” Frankly, the list of messages you see and hear every day is too long to even summarize. Without a centerboard, without a set of values that guide your life, you’re certainly lost. Let God’s Word be your centerboard. “Store my commands in your heart, for they will give you a long and satisfying life”—Proverbs 3:1-2. God’s Word provides you with the wisdom and values that can give you the stability and sense of confidence to navigate the most challenging of life’s seas. God’s Word is readily available to speak your soul when it is wandering and confused and desperately longing to live by its God-given design.

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