I don’t know about you but I really hate it when I’ve made a decision that goes against someone else’s advice and I’m faced with the possibility that they might later say, “I told you so...” when it’s all gone wrong. It doesn’t matter how much we think we understand about a given situation or a set of circumstances there are inevitably a set of parameters that we’ll find it difficult to judge. No more so than those times when we have to rely upon the thoughts and ideas of other people or, even worse, the weather. So often things in life are unpredictable so decision making can be a hazardous activity. I can, therefore, imagine that Paul’s fellow passengers and the crew he sailed with probably weren’t very appreciative when he said in verse 21 “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail to Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.” You can imagine the shouts of “Know it all!” and “Oh shut up, you’re not helping!”
The thing is that we know that Paul was someone who was filled with the Spirit of God, he heard what God was saying to him all the time and he therefore had the benefit of heavenly wisdom. The people on the ship most likely viewed him as just another prisoner and someone who knew little about the sea or sailing so therefore found his advice easy to dismiss.
Paul, however, was careful to make sure that his advice wasn’t condemning or overly critical because in his next breath he says, “But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost.” He explained how he’d met with an angel during the night and prophesied, with incredible accuracy, what was going to happen and that they would eventually run aground on an unknown island. So he brought hope in a very desperate time. He was then the one who ensured that the people had food and took care of themselves knowing that the ordeal wasn’t over. He employed the gifts of prophesy and leadership in the same moment.
I wonder how often I’ve made a decision that cost me more than it needed to because I didn’t listen to God or because I heard Him and simply ignored His advice thinking I knew better? My guess is probably more often than I’d care to admit.
Lord Jesus help me to be more attentive to you, to listen to your voice and to follow your advice and your calling. Lead me into the place of obedience and hold me there. Amen.