“Now when much time was spent and when sailing was now dangerous, because the Fast was now already past, Paul admonished them and said unto them, ‘Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.’ Nevertheless, the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship more than those things which were spoken by Paul.”
All we can do is do our best and counsel others when we can—and if they won’t listen, we must continue trusting the Lord to guide, use and keep us.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Such was the essence of Paul’s advice to the “powers that be” that day when they sat in the harbor called “Fair Havens” near the city of Lasea on the south coast of the island of Crete (v.8). This evidently was an unprotected harbor where ships could find no safe mooring during storms; yet, Paul knew the “signs of the time”—i.e., that “the Fast (evidently the Feast of Atonement on the 10th day of the seventh month) was now already past and sailing was now dangerous”—and warned them of the perils of setting sail.
But, interestingly, “the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship more than those things which were spoken by Paul.”
There’s no doubt the centurion could have commanded them to stay there; such was his power as a military representative of Caesar. But, like Paul, he was a novice when it came to sailing. And, no doubt, he trusted the words of “the master and owner of the ship more than he did Paul” because of their experience and positions—forgetting that greed so often has a way of making ill-advised decisions and throwing caution to the wind.
Later on, they’d wished they’d listened to Paul (vv.12-20). And, thankfully, later on they would as Paul stood there on-deck and said “You should have listened to me at Crete; but, don’t worry: Be of good cheer and don’t be afraid because the angel of the Lord appeared to me and told me we’re all going to be saved if we stay in the boat” (vv.21-25, 31). And, that’s exactly what happened—even though they’d end up running aground and the ship would break in-two (vv.38-44).
Dear Pilgrim, we should always remember not everyone’s on the same page or spiritual frequency as we are. Not everyone’s seeking the Lord. . .“hiding His Word in their heart” (Ps. 119:11). . .or more concerned about the things of God than they are the things of the world.
Consequently, even though we offer wise words of counsel to them—which are based upon the eternal truths of God’s Word—many will still say, like Felix, “Go your way for now; some more convenient season I’ll call on you” (Acts 24:25). Or, like King Agrippa, they’ll hear what you have to say and reply “Almost you persuade me to be a Christian” (Acts 27:28).
Never forget the human heart is like one of four types of soil (Mt. 13:3-9). Some are quite hard and impervious to God’s wooing and warning. Some are shallow, easily swayed and just as easily dislodged. Some have great potential and could be used by God in a mighty way, but are unusable because of “the cares of the world” (v.22). But, some are receptive and will “bring forth much fruit” (v.23). So, be faithful and leave the results up to God (I Cor. 3:7).