Five Lessons in Boat Handling

"Sailboat" 1948
“Sailboat” 1948 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his article in Good Old Boat magazine (Nov./Dec. 2011) Sigmund Baardsen wrote of his modest success racing a Naples Sabot dinghy in 1949. He’d complained to his mentor, Ray Wallace, that while he had superior speed, the other kids got past him when rounding the marks and in close quarters.

Mr. Baardsen’s mentor considered the problem and offered a solution. “You have to practice to get better control over your boat,” he’d said. “Early in the morning, before the wind becomes too strong, sail to a quite basin in the harbor where you can be undisturbed and unobserved. Take along the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, your lunch, water, and sunscreen; you’ll be there all day. Wad up the front page of the paper and pitch it over the side, turn back, and try run it over. When it sinks, throw out another page. Repeat that until you can do it perfectly. Then start passing as close as you can without touching the paper. When you can do that perfectly, start throwing out two wads of newspaper and sailing between them. Then start making figure-eights between the paper wads. When you are comfortable with that, start throwing out three wads of pper and start tacking and gybing among them. By the time you get through the hundres of pages of the Sunday Times, I guarantee you’ll be the best boat handler in the fleet.”

The author of the article went on to say that the advice was good enough to move him to the championship. In his article, he goes on to speak of five lessons for boat handling: Practice, observation, restraint, patience, persistence. It seems to me, these are exactly right for us in our Bible Walk as we prepare to come into the presence of our Lord Y’shuaJesus.

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Revelation 4:8-11

Regarding the cited scripture, Matthew Henry wrote: “The heavenly throne room is characterized by unceasing joyful praise, thanksgiving, and worship toward the Lord by all the creatures present. As believers here on earth consistently engage in similar worshipful living (e.g., 1Th 5:16-18), we prepare to live in the presence of the Lord.

This preparation, this “worshipful living” to which Mr. Henry refers is in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonian Church (5:16-22):

  1. Rejoice always!
  2. Pray constantly.
  3. Give thanks in everything,
    for this is G-d’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
  4. Don’t stifle the Spirit.
  5. Don’t despise prophecies,
    but test all things.
  6. Hold on to what is good.
  7. Stay away from every form of evil.

To become a champion at worshipful living, like racing a sailboat, we need to practice. Perhaps this is something that gets forgotten. Once we are saved, we are spiritually in the presence of the Lord and spiritually perfected. But we still have the flesh. We stray and it’s called “backsliding.” We need more practice. We need to think not that we won’t fail, but that we will practice and practice and practice. The five lessons Sigmund Baardsen wrote about totally apply here. We begin our practice alone, in calm seas. We observe the people of G-d in the Bible and those in the Lord’s Church. There is a measure of restraint in our walk that keeps us from moving too quickly through our lessons. Patience helps us resist discouragement in our failures. And finally persistence in pressing onward in our Bible Walk.

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

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