Sailing Too Close To Shore

This was submitted by Greg, hope you like it.

The following is an excerpt from a prayer believed to have been written by Sir Francis Drake:

“Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.”

~ Sir Francis Drake

I really like this quote and it reminds of a story from my childhood. During my teenage years, my family used to go to the lake for skiing and swimming. This was truly a family affair encompassing three generations, and oftentimes, there would be close to 30 of us there. It was my Grandpa’s job to drive the boat. He was a fairly strict man and liked going about his business with little fanfare. When it was time to ski, he would take one passenger in the boat, as a lookout, while he pulled the rest of us…usually one at a time. Which is another story for another time. Anyway, the lake we usually went to was a small lake, about 600 acres. As young men, most of us could ski a full lap before exhaustion made it impossible to hang on to the rope.

I remember one particular afternoon when one of my cousins had just completed a full lap and was bragging that he had made it all the way around without falling. At which time Grandpa turned to him and said, “if you don’t fall down, it means you aren’t trying anything new.” Now keep in mind that my Grandpa is a man of relatively few words and is not one to readily criticize another. What he was telling my cousin was that it’s not very challenging to stay in the wake behind the boat and definitely not worthy of bragging about. He was also wanted him to challenge himself by getting outside his comfort zone, the wake, and start working on his cutting and jumping skills.

When I reflect on his comments some 25 years later, I realize that his comments can be applied to all aspects of our lives, including our pursuit to strengthen our relationship with God. The quote by Sir Francis Drake says the same thing that Grandpa was telling my cousin that day. You will never truly be great at something if you don’t fall down a couple of times along the way, and I believe that it applies to our journey to become good Christians as well. You can’t get there by just doing the minimum amount required, like say…going to church on Sunday. You have to face your own weaknesses and work on them. You may have to get out of your comfort zone and help others. Whatever it is, you’re certain to fall down a couple of times…Greatness doesn’t happen without practice.

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