Seeker: I cannot grasp what this means, to live in the world without immersing ourselves in it. Can you make this clearer?
Sadhu: Think of the ship; it belongs in the water, but water must not come into the ship – that would be disastrous. Similarly, it is right and fitting that we live in this world, and if we stay above the surface, then we can reach the safe harbor of life – and help others to do so. But it would be our demise if the world penetrated into our hearts. The spiritual person holds the heart free for the One who created it.
Read the whole article here. It includes many other bits of wisdom to consider.
I like playing with this "ship in the water" metaphor. After reading that quote, I had fun coming up with these statements about ships, drawing parallels to Christians' experience in the (sometimes turbulent) waters of this world. Please tell me what you think.
If a ship is not in the water its only function is that of a storage vessel.
How many Christians do you know that separate themselves from the world, simply storing up more and more in their minds for the sole purpose of keeping it to themselves?
The ship has to be in the water to be useful and purposeful.
We are best used by God when we are engaged in the world He created.
The ship must be surrounded by the water; it is no good to be partially submerged.
It is not our place to decide which parts of the world we would like to have contact with and which parts we will do without.
The water is harmful only if it enters the ship.
We can be fully surrounded by things of the world that threaten to bring us down, but the only way they can impact us is if we allow them into ourselves. Having something around us does not mean it is in us.
In order to navigate wisely, it is important to understand the water. Analysis of weather patterns, tides, and currents allow the ship's best course through the water to be determined.
Being in tune with the world around us, being involved in it, and observing it only makes us better able to respond appropriately to the needs that face us and the course of action we should take.
The bigger the boat, the deeper the water needs to be.
As we grown in maturity of faith, we are called into deeper, more challenging situations. Though intimidating at times, it is the environment we need if we hope to move freely. Otherwise, we will get stuck in the shallow places.
Boats are used for various reasons: to ship goods, to transport people, to protect others, to deliver warnings, to bring enjoyment to people's lives.
I believe God wants to use each of us uniquely and significantly. What kind of boat are you? In what type of water has He placed you right now?
The beautiful thing is that when Jesus is in us, nothing can overtake us.
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"