The Greek ferry boat was loaded with more than 500 passengers, and a lot were visitors from other countries. Suddenly, that ship plowed into a rocky outcropping, and in minutes the ferry went down two miles from shore, claiming the lives of 66 people. But you know what? It was a tragedy that never had to happen. Those rock outcroppings are clearly marked on navigational charts, and the ferry had passed by them countless times, and there’s even a light atop them that’s visible for seven miles. But the captain and three key crew members were not at their posts that night; they were reportedly down below watching a soccer match on television. A Greek newspaper headline proclaimed, “A blind course on autopilot.” So as the ship was on a collision course, the captain was not on the bridge.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “When the Captain Is Not On the Bridge.”
Families can go aground the same way that Greek ferry did. Children can crash for the same reason that ship did. The people who should be at the helm are not where they should be.
If you’re a Mom or Dad, it’s important to look in the mirror and take inventory every once in a while. God’s given you the most important command of all. You have got in your care, lives created in His image, each one a divinely designed original. And He’s trusting you to give them the love, the attention, the discipline, and the spiritual direction that they need to make them all God created them to be.
But there are a lot of people and pressures that are pulling on us parents. Some of them are screaming for our attention while our children are just whispering for it. Could it be that you’ve become preoccupied with less important things? Actually, almost everything is a less important thing than this priceless trust from God.
The stewardship God has given us when He gave us our children is expressed in some beautiful words in our word for today from the Word of God. When you apply them to your son or daughter, they’re a wonderful expression of this holy stewardship. Isaiah 8:18 simply says, “Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me.” Now, there is the highest and holiest assignment a man or woman can be given!
Tragically, some of us may have left the bridge. We’re preoccupied with other priorities. We may be abandoning the leadership our child needs on a daily basis – the life lessons that we explain from that day’s events: the loving reinforcement of consistent boundaries, the godly discipline for going out of bounds, the daily listening we need to do just to keep up with this constantly growing and changing little person, the praying they need us to do with them in situation after situation. Are you there for all of that?
Remember, the captain of the ship that went down? He didn’t commit any overt crime; his deadly mistake was one of neglect. It’s what he didn’t do. That’s what did so much damage, and that could be what’s happening in your home, with your family.
It could be that with all the pressures and all the demands on you, the priorities of your life have gotten somewhat inverted recently. It’s time for you, if you’re a Mom or Dad, to recommit yourself to the central, non-negotiable priority of steering your family away from the rocks and in the right direction.
Listen, you don’t have to leave the bridge for very long for someone you love to crash.