“Men, you should have taken my advice.” (Acts 27:21)

30 Jul

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Paul is often direct in his communication style. Not one to mince words, he can come across as harsh and overbearing. But he is so compelled as an ambassador for Christ to speak the truth that will transform lives that he can’t hold back. When he and his fellow prisoners set sail on their journey to Rome, it wasn’t long before the weather turned threatening.

Paul warned those in charge, advising a different route. But Paul was no sailor, so the centurion in charge listened to the pilot and owner of the ship, which makes a lot more sense.

Obviously Paul had some insight, or divine wisdom, that foretold the disaster ahead, but those in charge couldn’t get past his position as prisoner in order to accept his counsel. And when disaster struck, Paul didn’t waste any time say, “I told you so!” To our modern ears this seems a very ungracious response to a group of ship wreck survivors, but I wonder if there was a cultural context here.

And Paul went on to give hope and encouragement to the other 275 passengers. He used his “I told you so” moment to gain the ear of the disheartened group and to gain credibility and trustworthiness, which would serve him as events unfolded on their journey.

Although he was a prisoner, Paul was an undeniable leader.

Sometimes God gives us insight into oncoming storms. He warns us so that we can warn others. But that doesn’t mean we will always be listened to. I’m not sure we want to follow Paul’s “I told you so” example in this passage, but I certainly think we can respond as encouragers and guides when disaster strikes.

Read Acts 27

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