I Did It My Way

Proverbs 23:9 

Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

All of us fall into ‘the fool who doesn’t listen’ category from time to time. One example that comes to mind is of Martin, a fellow cadet on my second trip to sea. Martin was a first tripper and all seafarers are aware that first trippers know nothing. Hence the saying ‘only first trippers and seagulls sit on a ship’s rails!’

Mart154Martin was an intelligent but unconventional young man, with an unusual upbringing. This included time spent growing up as a missionary kid out in the bush in Kenya, followed by a boarding school education back in England, while his parents continued to serve in Africa. We hit it off straight away. Martin was a couple of years older than me, but theoretically I was the senior cadet having served longer at sea. Friendship and length of sea time did not mean that Martin listened to me. In fact, his failure to listen meant that we both regularly got into trouble with the chief officer (otherwise known as the mate) and even the captain on occasions. Three incidents in particular spring to mind:

1. When we were told to paint the emergency fire pump Martin thought it would look better in rainbow colors. I told him the mate would not like it. Martin didn’t listen and we ended up repainting the fire pump. In our own time.

2. When given the task of repairing the canvas lifeboat covers Martin soon got tired of stitching on the patches. He suggested glue. I told him the mate would not like it. He didn’t. He made us stitch around the patches we had glued. In our own time.

3. When presented with numerous flags to wash by hand Martin felt that a spot of bleach might help restore the flags to their former glory. I took a stand on this one and told him that bleach would damage the flags. Martin didn’t listen. I didn’t see him add the bleach but I sure as heck saw the results. So did the captain when we tried to sneak the damaged flags back to the wheelhouse. I still remember the explosion. “YOU DID WHAT! YOU WASHED THE FLAGS IN BLEACH?!!!” The captain’s cap didn’t quite leave his head, but as a small man he was prone to jumping up and down a lot when he lost his temper.

Martin had a knack of thinking up shortcuts. No amount of advice would deter him from taking action that others were convinced was foolish. I guess the best defense that Martin had was his youth, but many of us left youth behind many years ago yet still fail to heed a voice of wisdom, or worse the voice of God. It is no excuse to say we didn’t hear, we didn’t understand, or we thought that our way was better. When God speaks we need to listen. Carefully. Then we need to do what He says, when He says, and how He says. 

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About David

David is the son of Ken and father of Nick, who first introduced him to blogging. Ken is a retired Baptist Minister who continues to preach regularly, despite being in his eighties. Nick is training for full time Baptist ministry after several years serving as a youth pastor. Somehow the being a preacher thing skipped a generation with David. Although half Scottish David grew up in England and in the Channel Island of Guernsey. He served in the British Merchant Navy after leaving school, and did not attend University until he was twenty-eight years old. By this time he was married to Marilyn and father to Nick, and Nick’s brother Michael. Another son (James) was born the day before the start of David’s final University examinations. Beth and John followed a few years later. The older boys are all married, and David and Marilyn have been presented with four grandsons to date. Beth has served with British Youth for Christ (YFC) for three years as a member and then the leader of the Nomad cage football team (Google it!). She has recently taken up a new post involving a new YFC ministry (watch this space). John, who is 18, is now the only one of our children still living at home. David and Marilyn met in 1973 and have been married since 1979. Marilyn is a trained nurse, who gave up nursing to be a full time mother, grandmother, and maker of cakes for pastors, youth pastors, and any church function that needs cakes. There is a rumour that she secretly reads David’s blogs. Family and church leave little time for hobbies, but David enjoys walking and cycling, and listening to music. He also dabbles with languages and is currently learning to speak Welsh. (By way of explanation the Welsh border is 11 miles from David's home, and his water bills arrive in both English and Welsh from Dŵr Cymru.) View all posts by David

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