Every January I take a group on a Christian conference cruise over MLK weekend. In addition to enjoying the Bahamas, the western Caribbean or the eastern Caribbean, we have a fantastic time playing under the sun and with the Son. This past January my conference topic was, “Temptations of the Spiritually Mature” and last year it was “High Maintenance Relationships”. I always consider a lifestyle topic that challenges each individual and presents something a little different than regular Sunday morning fare. Great food, great fellowship and spiritual growth has been our experience for the seven years I have been hosting families, couples and singles from all over the United States. In addition to being ministered to, I always equip those who attend with a way to share their faith by giving away a book or a music CD. In January, we gave eighty music CDs to individuals from Tampa to Mexico. I love this Christian conference cruise. I always feel refreshed and grow myself. It’s a great way to begin a new year.
While there are many lessons I have learned and many experiences I could share, this past January I had a particularly eye opening experience. The ship was beautiful, immaculate and so well maintained that I was surprised when I was told that it would soon go into dry dock. I was told every seven years the cruise ship was sent to dry dock no matter how good it looked or how well it appeared to have been maintained. I had watched the crew daily clean, polish, scrub and shower all areas of the ship, even the outside walls while we docked in Cozumel and Key West. Why would there be a mandatory time when the ship was pulled away from ocean travel and placed in dry dock? Wasn’t it created for ocean travel and just how much cleaner could it get? I had to admit I knew the term, dry dock, but not the actual procedure. I needed to investigate.
According to Wikipedia, “A dry dock is a narrow basin or vessel that can be flooded to allow a load to be floated in, and then drained to allow that load to come to rest on a dry platform. Dry docks are used for the construction, maintenance, and repair of ships, boats, and other watercraft.” The practice of bringing a ship into dry dock has been a part of every nation in history since the practice was first created in 200 BC in Egypt. As I began to study more, I realized the wisdom of taking an extended time out of the travel schedule of a ship to examine every square inch and test every function of operation. There needed to be a time to evaluate the ships sea-worthiness and a time to replace and update interior features. It would be time of rest for a weary sea vessel from the pounding waters of everyday life.
Most of us never take time in dry dock to evaluate our personal life or to rest. We are on the go from morning till night, seven days a week. While we might take a few hours here and there for rest and relaxation, seldom do we bring a halt to our hectic lifestyles and submit ourselves to a comprehensive examination. Rest physically, emotionally and spiritually seems to be a concept of the past, before massive deadlines, cell phones and global life began its reign. We are often surprised when something goes wrong. We are too busy to see it coming.
Every Christian needs a time in dry dock. We need a time of entering into God’s rest and a time for construction, maintenance and repair. We need a time for the master’s touch.
David in Psalm 139: 1-6 (NLT) cries out to God for a season in dry dock for examination and restoration. He extols Gods touch in his life and his faithfulness in every living moment.
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!”
Consider a dry dock experience soon. It will make sailing life’s seas a safer and more confident experience for you and those who sail through life with you.