“And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth.” (Acts 21:2)
Four hundred years ago this year, a group of Christian men, women and children set out on a journey that would revolutionize the world. They had left England in 1608 to go to Holland because they could not worship the Lord under the strict auspices of the Church of England. The government in Holland began to persecute them for their religious practices and they embarked toward the shores of the “New World” in 1620. Two vessels set out but one, the Speedwell had to turn back, as it was not sea worthy. The Mayflower completed the journey on November 11, 1620 with 102 passengers and 30 crew members. It was a small cargo ship, not an ocean ship, and measured 100 ft. x 25 ft. at its widest point. It survived the 10 week journey through ocean swells of over 100 ft. high and delivered its passengers safely to their destination.
Fast forward four hundred years; another Mayflower is in the news. It is a replica of the original and just had an 11.2 million dollar makeover to prepare it for a commemorative journey to honor the historic trip made by its predecessor. An unlimited budget and it is all just a show. It makes you wonder.
I was thinking of the church of yesterday. Like the original Mayflower, it started out with godly men and women seeking to serve and worship God in the manner prescribed by the Bible. They were willing to pay any price and suffer any hardship in order to follow their convictions. Storms raged and governments came and went but they continued steadfast at any cost; “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (I Timothy 3:15). They had a personal one on one relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and risked everything for His cause.
What about the church of our day? I am afraid that it is like the Mayflower II, all big budget and show with no real purpose. We can build a ship to look just like the real thing but who is sailing on it? The “passengers” on today’ “good ole’ gospel ship” have no idea of the price in blood, sweat and tears that was paid to get to where we are today. We are sailing on a showboat, not a working vessel. Will we be able to withstand the storms with 100 ft. swells?
In this fast decaying society in which we find ourselves today let us hold high the blood stained banner of our Lord; “Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.” (Psalm 60:4). It is the only hope for the world. Let us once again make the church a working vessel to see that men and women arrive safely on Heaven’s shore.