Will You Listen to Me Now?
Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Acts 27:21
A while back, my son and I were pulling into the parking lot of a local restaurant, when, for some reason, I decided to get as close as I could to the vehicle parked in front of us. I knew I had a couple feet left between my pickup and the other, but my son protested that I needed to stop. I don’t know why, but I had to push ever closer, until – bump. I accidentally got too close and nudged the pickup because I didn’t see they had a hitch sticking out the back. Then, we both noticed the people sitting in the vehicle. Irritated and embarrassed, my son said, I told you that you were too close!
There was no damage, but, embarrassed myself, I had to get out and speak with the owners, all because I wouldn’t listen to the voice of reason. You can bet that the next time we were in that situation, my son reminded me of the incident and, you can also bet that I stayed well back.
I can’t say that I’ve always been so quick to learn. When I first attempted recovery, there were those who’d experienced sobriety who told me what it would take to get there. I honestly just didn’t believe them. I’d made my mistakes, but I was never going back, so I didn’t need to go to meetings or work on recovery. You’d think my first couple failures would have taught me a lesson, but it took a few more relapses and a lot more pain for me to listen to reason. Those around me must have been thinking, I told you so.
Paul had an I told you so moment in today’s passage. Sailing for Rome, the crew of the boat he was on encountered inclement weather. Paul, having some knowledge of the future, warned that continuing during winter on would mean much injury and loss (Acts 27:10). The captain refused to listen and pressed on, paying the price, eventually shipwrecking the boat.
Those around us can often can see what we cannot. Maturity means learning to heed those voices instead of pressing on, even when we think we know better. Often, it takes some loss and failure to convince us to listen. Wisdom would be learning to listen before we shipwreck – or bump into the pickup in front of us.