Do you just feel like you’re drifting some days? Aimless? Lost?
The inspired writer to the Hebrews (2:1) says: “We need to pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”
The words of this Bible passage take us down to the sea in ships. In the language of the New Testament, the word for “pay attention” was also used of tying ships to the dock. The phrase “drift away” speaks for itself.
Some wind, some current, barely noticeable, slowly takes the ship off course. It begins to drift past the harbor. Someone is not tied down, paying attention.
Any number of currents can do this in your life and mine. There is the current of the years. Time changes us. Unconsciously we drift further from the harbor of home, from the words of God which once moved us. We keep up appearances, but how far downstream are we from where we used to be, from the things we used to believe on the basis of the Bible?
There is the current of familiarity which breeds contempt. We’ve always had the Scriptures. We imagine we always will. The Bread of Life goes stale in our careless hands. Then, in some hungry moment of heart and soul, we look down, open our hands, and it isn’t there anymore.
There is the current of daily duties, endless activities, some which need to be done, others we simply choose to do. These all distract us from spending even a few minutes each day to feed our souls with the Word. We drift.
There is the current of competing ideas, the tides of false teachings which sweep over us each day from friends, newspapers and TV. Things we once believed deeply are all but washed away in the waves. Things we once recognized as clearly evil now carry us away in the current of popular opinion. The voice of our Father sounds strange to us. We are, as Paul once said, “blown around by every wind of teaching.” Most church bodies have drifted, forsaking the word of God as they have drifted for decades. Sadly, because drifting is by nature a slow thing, we may not notice it at all until we are swept out to sea, unable to get back. No soul, no congregation, no church body is immune.
The remedy to our drifting hearts is not to go looking for something new, but to “pay even more attention to what we have heard,” to tie our hearts to the lifeline of the gospel in word and sacrament which we have always had.
Jesus, Savior, pilot me over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee: Jesus, Savior, pilot me.