Looking for a Lifeboat

The Disastrous End of the Titanic

This past week was the anniversary of the famous sinking of the Titanic (April 15, 1912).  There were a number of things that might have been done before the trip to prevent this disaster.  Also, as the ship began to go down, there were other events and items of neglect which caused an even greater number of casualties.  I want to look at one aspect of this sad story.

There were over 2,200 passengers on board.  However, there were not nearly enough lifeboats to transport the passengers if the vessel came to be in danger.  The ship designer had planned for forty-eight lifeboats.  However, someone else decided that they did not want the decks to look overly cluttered, so the number was reduced to twenty.  Another problem was that many of the lifeboats were launched only partially full.  One account says that they were putting people in them only as a precaution.  After all, the Titanic was considered to be “unsinkable.”

We Must Not Ignore the Warning Signs

In our spiritual lives, we need to be on the lookout for dangers on the horizon.  Many things contributed to the downfall of the Titanic and some of these things seemed small at the time.  We might think, for instance, that it really is not that important to study, pray, or to have communication with brethren.  Many in the religious world, only give importance to some aspects of Christian devotion and indicate that it is enough just to feel good and do a kind deed now and then.  The idea seems to be that one may choose to ignore the parts of the Bible that do not agree with his thinking or lifestyle.  Others might think that we can leave a certain sin whenever we want.

We need to seek the “lifeboats” or “lifesavers” in our spiritual life, because spiritual danger and/or death might be closer than we think.  The people on this huge ship had no idea that many of them were about to perish.  There was much trust placed in the ship and its construction.  Today, there may be people willing to help us to see the spiritual warning signs, if we will listen.  God may want to teach us in some way, if we are willing to be humble and learn.  Paul encouraged Christians to not be overly confident in themselves (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Jesus taught us not to put our trust in earthly things (Matthew 6:19-21).

Also, “lifesavers” are needed.  A baker on the Titanic was reportedly throwing women onto the lifeboats.  (I am not suggesting that tactic.)  One first-class passenger, Benjamin Guggenheim, refused to get into a lifeboat because he wanted the women to go first.  (Some today are on the “front lines” in the medical field risking themselves for others.)

Those Who Want to Help Us When Our “Ship” Is Sinking

There are many examples of sizable efforts by men and women who have sacrificed to save the souls of others.  Paul and other disciples were often in danger of losing their lives because of their desire to save others (2 Corinthians 11:23-33; 12:15; Philippians 2:25-30).  Jesus lived a sacrificial life and died to save others (Romans 5:8; 2 Timothy 2:5-6).  He taught that nothing is this world is worth losing the soul… not even our physical lives (Matthew 16:26).

Let us remember to heed the warnings and be guided by the good Captain, Jesus Christ, so that we can be led to safety from the hazards of this life (especially the spiritual ones).  He is the only One who has the power to keep our soul from perishing.  We should also remember that others can be His servants and act as “lifeboats” or “lifesavers,” if we are willing to receive the help.

–Greg Roark