The Tale of Two Ships
There are two ships just leaving the harbor headed out to sea, They are the same size, and they started out going in the same direction, but now one of them is beginning to veer off course and go in a different direction.
When I look at both “ships” from the front, they seem identical in that they have the same types of departments; each has a worship ministry a children’s program , a youth ministry, nursery facilities, a sanctuary, pastors’ offices, a café, and so forth. Each has outreaches to the community, sponsors missions trips, holds Bible teaching conferences, and uses state-of-the art media technology. The people even seem to be dressed similarly.
Yet, when I look at the “ships” from the side, where I can see their layout, it is clear that they are not identical after all. One ship has a prayer room that is relegated to the extreme back corner of the vessel. Although this ship seems to have a lot more glitter than the other one, there are many things weighing down its sides—things that look rusted, old, and decaying—and which are causing it to veer off course. Barnacles are also clinging to its sides and seem to be causing damage slowly and undetected. All the passengers on board are going about their business, as usual, with a casual attitude, maybe a little arrogantly or just wrapped up in what they are doing, making decisions on the fly.
The second ship, again, has all the same departments as the first ship, but along the entire length of its bottom floor, people are praying to God, calling out to Him, worshipping Him, and asking Him to shower His presence upon them. Some of the people are prostrate, while others are on their knees, sitting down, or standing, but all of them are in prayer and are waiting upon God actively. They are hungering for Him with an obvious intensity, and this attitude permeates the entire ship.
There is no glitter on this second vessel—and no barnacles. It is cutting through the waters faster, more smoothly, and more deeply than the first ship, even though the waves seem to be hitting it more intensely. No glitter, no barnacles, no rust, and moving more deeply through the water while encountering rougher waves.
The question the Lord is laying on my heart to ask pastors is this: Which ship would you like to be on?