Racing Down the River

Racing Down the River

Someone once said, “True freedom is not a question of doing as we like, but doing as we ought.”

Clovis Chappell, a nineteenth-century minister, used to tell an interesting story about two paddleboats. The two boats, powered by coal, left Memphis about the same time, traveling down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. As they travelled side-by-side, sailors from one vessel made some critical remarks and jokes about the snail’s pace of the other boat.

Heated words were exchanged between the men on the two boats. Challenges were made. So the race began. The competition was hot and heavy as the two boats roared through the Deep South.

Eventually, one boat began falling behind. The problem: it didn’t have enough fuel. There had been plenty of coal for the trip, but not enough for a race.

As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship’s cargo and tossed it into the boat’s ovens. When his fellow sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as coal, they fuelled their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport.

Guess what? They ended up winning the race. But they burned their cargo.

How does this apply to our lives?

The men on the winning boat did what they liked, which was winning the race. But the price for that victory was expensive. The boat’s cargo, the very reason they were traveling down the river in the first place, was sacrificed. So they failed to do what they ought to have done, which was to safely transport their cargo.

You may not have thought about it, but God has entrusted each of us with cargo. Our cargo is other people, such as friends and family, and the ability He has given us to help someone else. We are responsible for this cargo, and ought to cherish it in our journey through life.

However, like the men on the winning boat, often we fail in that responsibility. As Billy Graham says, “We hurt people by being too busy. Too busy to notice their needs. Too busy to drop that note of comfort or encouragement or assurance of love. Too busy to listen when someone needs to talk. Too busy to care.”

Are you too busy to care? When opportunities occur to help others, do you take advantage of those opportunities? Or do you burn your cargo as you busily do what you like?

Be diligent, and do what you ought to do. Slow down for the needs of your family and friends. Seize opportunities to help people when it is within your power to do so.

Finally, remember one other cargo God has entrusted to you. It is the Good News of Jesus Christ. Diligently share that Good News with others, and help people who are using their gifts for Christ reach even more people. Your diligence with the cargo God has given you will be very rewarding.

By Rich McLawhorn

Meditation: And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:41-42

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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