Who moved the dock?-- a thought provoking story

>> Friday, May 29, 2009

This account was written by Scott Nelson, the pastor of the church we attended when I was a young child.

Some years ago at a youth camp in Minnesota at which I was speaking, I had an opportunity to take a paddle-boat out on the lake. It was good to be alone, and after paddling out to the center of the lake, eating some lunch, and situating myself comfortably in the boat, I proceeded to read one of the books I had brought along. Occasionally I would doze while basking in the sun. Seldom had I enjoyed such uninterrupted solitude. After a good deal of time had elapsed, I thought it best to start paddling my way back to the dock lest I be late for the next chapel service. To my amazement, when I looked for the dock, it had vanished! How could they have moved the dock in so short a time?! And what had they done with the chapel building? After feverishly paddling for some time (actually until my thighs were throbbing), I began once again to see the dock.

What had happened? There was no wind to speak of, and, if I do say so myself, my navigational skills were flawless that day. What took place was not unlike that which happens to so many in the household of faith. I call it the "imperceptible drift." It is an ever-so-slight movement or alteration from the original course, that, over a period of time, results in complete disorientation and distress. For the most part, Christians can contend with gale-force winds; or at the very least, they can identify the force that blew them away, and then make the necessary corrections. Far too often, however, it is not the gale-force wind which throws a believer off course, but rather his or her lack of attention to each and every exhortation from the Word of God. Granted, one may attribute one's back-slidden condition to an adulterous relationship, cheating on a business deal, or allowing a spirit of hatred to remain in the heart; but in many cases the "imperceptible drift" began in a much less spectacular manner. Perhaps there was merely a little less faithfulness to the house of God, a critical attitude toward others, an innocent piece of gossip, just one trip to an R-rated movie, or maybe just a touch of concealed pride. Is there unconfessed sin? Has the church failed to "meet your needs?" Are you offended by someone? Are you harboring resentment? When these more "subtle sins" cause a drift, the result can be disastrous, for seldom does the "victim" of the drift acknowledge that it was his or her lack of attention to the Word of God that put him/her off course; instead, the first question is invariably, "Who moved the dock?"

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