The Importance of the Boat Builder

James 4:14 – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

A book I once read that is written for business leaders includes a very insightful illustration. As I remember it, two men are standing on a dock looking at a large cruise ship intended to carry people and cargo to their intended destinations. One man looks at the other and asks, “In relation to that boat, who is the most important person?”. The other man replies, “the captain”. The man who asked the question corrected him saying, “the boat builder”.

The truth is the world’s best captain is of no use if he’s at the helm of a poorly built boat. If it doesn’t float, the captain could be most anyone as it won’t make a difference.

Most people spend their time and energy working in their life – frantic, tired, and trying to keep their proverbial boat afloat. Planning is working on your life and not just in it – figuring out how to build a bigger boat. The wisdom literature, especially Proverbs and Jesus’ parables, have a lot to say about stewardship, planning, and building a better boat for our life.

For full confession, I’m a big fan of planning. I took one of those personality tests and I scored as an off-the-charts, high strategic planner. I enjoy trying to figure out the future, build the best boat, and sail off into the next great adventure be it for family or ministry.

The problem with planning is that it can lead to presumption. We see this every election when a candidate promises a future no one believes will come to pass, at work when the boss gives us the rousing vision talk expecting us to forget that the talk he gave last year failed so that we can naively believe that this year will be different, and in the huddle with the sports team where the coach promises we can be David and watch Goliath fall, which we believe until the final score says we are a loser and our coach is a liar.

What are some significant ways you have had to pivot from your plans to walk in obedience to God and the circumstances of life?

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