Early in his retirement in Hawaii my dad owned a sailboat. Maybe more accurately it could be said that it almost owned him. He kept his beautiful 50-foot teak covered ketch in Kaneohe Bay. “The Moonraker” gave our family some wonderful memories. My favorite times were when he took the boat to the outer islands. (Except for the violent seasickness I experienced in actually getting to those islands.) To be able to sail along the lush white sandy beach shores and camp out on that boat was as close to “living in paradise” I think I ever have experienced.
I know he enjoyed working on his boat at first, but he eventually did tire of it. (Hence the saying, “the two happiest days of a boat owner is the day he buys his boat and the day he sells it!”) Dad didn’t have to only make sure the blistering Hawaiian sun didn’t damage what was above the waterline but he had to be concerned about little shelled creatures that attached themselves to the submerged areas of the boat’s hull.
These creatures, known as barnacles, are a shell species that release millions of larvae. The animals attach themselves to solid, non-moving objects, such as docked boats, where they can absorb nutrients that float through the water. Boat hulls are also fertile grounds for algae and other growth—which barnacles also feed on like cattle eat grass.
It was important for him to keep his boat’s hull clean because the barnacles would make it more difficult to steer the boat and could bring extra weight, causing it to sit lower in the water. The chemicals secreted by the organisms could also cause damage and add drag to the hull, reducing its speed and efficiency.
So my poor ole’ dad would constantly have to concern himself with these little boat-fouling freeloaders, either through putting on a snorkel and mask to scrub the hull while docked, or taking his boat out of the water and putting it into “dry dock” for scraping, sanding and repainting.
I have been impressed lately of the importance of not allowing anything to attach itself to a simple trust in Christ for me. If I add ANYTHING to Christ for my right standing with God then I am actually subtracting from my trust in His sufficiency alone. I am allowing “barnacles” to form, to slow my progress, weigh me down and hinder myself from being directed by His hand.
How much of my sense of “righteousness” do I gain from how I am DOING as a husband, father or leader? I rely upon my subjective circumstances, my feelings, others’ feedback rather than the simple trust in Christ and His righteousness on my behalf alone. These things that attach themselves to me so naturally, so insidiously, are MY barnacles. They are hidden areas where I trust in “Christ Plus”…Christ plus my reputation, Christ plus responses from my loved ones, Christ plus feedback from others. They are areas of my heart “below the waterline” that I need to continuously bring into the “Son light” and allow His special cleansing blood solution to be generously applied.
Seeking To Sail “Barnacle-Free,”
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