Of Faith And Fables
By Bob Haynes

When On Board The Ship Of Faith

     Rev. Carl Palmer told the story of an elderly couple who were celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary on board a Cruise Ship to Alaska. They had talked about taking such a trip for many years but financially just couldn’t make it happen. He used the story to make a point about our spiritual journey. It was given as a part of the spiritual retreat I attended called The Walk to Emmaus.
     Back to the story: As time passed, their children grew into adulthood, married and moved away but thankfully the family remained very close. As the 50th Anniversary grew near, the adult children of this couple decided to pitch in and pay for a special 14-day Alaska Cruise for their parents.
     When they made that announcement, their parents were elated. At long last, they would be able to take that trip they had dreamed about for years and years.  Even if the money situation had remained very tight, they were going on a trip of a lifetime. It was a perfect present from their children.
     Later, as they were packing to leave, the elderly couple realized that they really had no money to take for extras on that 14-day trip. In order to save money, they would have to take some food along—peanut butter, crackers, etc.—in order to make it through those days on the ocean. So, that’s exactly what they did. They enjoyed every bit of the cruise. When it came time for breakfast or lunch or dinner, they quietly went back to their cabin and ate the food they had brought.
     On the 12th day, the husband began to smell the most wonderful aroma coming up from one of the ship’s many kitchens. It was unmistakable. It was prime rib and he dearly loved prime rib. He couldn’t stand it any more. Taking his wife with him, he went to see the ship’s captain. They told the captain that they would be glad to wash dishes, clean rooms, whatever, in order to have just one meal with the other guests. After all, prime rib was their favorite.
     The captain shook his head. “Do you mean,” he said, “that all this time you have been eating crackers and peanut butter alone in your room?” “Yes,” they replied. “But we would really do almost anything to be able to join the other passengers for this one meal.”
     ‘I don’t know how to tell you this,” the captain said, “but all meals are included in the cost of the cruise. Of course you may join us for this and all the remaining meals on board.”
     The story is poignant one because, as Rev. Palmer said, it points out that many of us may be on the ship of faith, but we may indeed be missing out on some wonderful meals.
     I know that growing in our faith is one of the most wonderful gifts God has given us. As we mature in our faith, we learn so much more about God’s Grace. If we simply are excited about our decision to accept Christ, but then do nothing more than go to church each Sunday without exerting much effort, we might indeed be on the right ship but missing many wondrous meals. Shalom!