Love in Spite of Differences
Every sailor could agree on one fact. Had it not been for the captain, they never would have survived. The storm came suddenly, and in a matter of moments hulls were broken, decks were awash, and sailors were floundering. But as quickly as the storm arose, so came the captain, maneuvering his large vessel between the waves and rescuing one sailor after another. Before they knew it, they were deposited safely on an island, listening to the instructions of the captain, who said, "There are more still at sea. You stay here until I return. Build a tall fire using the trees of the island to keep yourselves warm and to send a beacon for those who need safety." Of course, the sailors were happy and quick to oblige, and they set about the task of building a large fire. Then they waited and waited and waited.
The longer they waited the more their gratitude passed. Their thankfulness turned into restlessness, and appreciation for the captain mutated into aggravation with each other. No one could remember exactly when the argument started, but it had something to do with the captain's instructions. Did he say to use only trees for the fire or mostly trees for the fire? As they began to discuss it, they couldn't agree. Some said, "Surely he meant trees only. He said build a fire made out of trees." Others said, "A little brush and some grass and leaves won't hurt. He'll understand. Mostly trees won't hurt." Conversation led to opinion, and opinion led to discussion. Discussion led to dispute, and dispute led to debate. Soon debate led to division, and there were two fires on the island. There was the trees-only fire and the trees-mostly fire.
Peace returned to the island for a short time, until dispute broke out in the trees-only camp. ...
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Max Lucado is minister of writing and preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas.