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Apostle Paul and the role of a Christian leader in a crisis.
The book of Acts is amazing. If church worked today the way it did in the book of Acts, the world wouldn't have a lot of these moral and social problems. I just wanted to share some thoughts on the 27th chapter of the book of Acts. I'm not a preacher, but I'd like to share with other people what God showed myself.
In this chapter, Apostle Paul ends up on a prisoner ship sailing to Rome. He quickly becomes the leading man on the ship. A true leader will show themselves no matter what circumstances they're in or what their social status is. And you don't have to be an apostle to be a leader. Every Christian should be a leader in their surroundings. It doesn't matter where a Christian is, the light will shine through.
Since the very beginning of the trip, Paul gains the respect of the centurion in charge of the prisoners on the ship, and is allowed to visit his friends at one of the stops. You know when you are a prisoner, you're usually not allowed to abandon the ship at a harbor to go talk to your friends. Does your boss trust you that much?
Later, Paul starts advising the centurion whether they should sail further or not. They stopped at a place called Fair Heavens, and Paul advised them to not go any further until the winter passed. Of course, the centurion trusted the captain of the ship more than he believed Paul, at first. But later, he would see that Paul was right. The advice of Paul was not logical. The harbor they stopped at was not suitable to survive the winter. They had to sail to another one. Besides, a gentle south wind began to blow, and they thought they got what they needed to move on. But before very long, they got caught in a hurricane. Soon, they had to throw their cargo overboard. Later the ship wrecked. And their own lives ended up in grave danger. Just like Paul told them. You see, a Christian leader has a vision from above. That's something other leaders don't have. Other leaders can only see what is logical, what seems to be the reality at the moment. Christian leaders have the vision from the God who knows the future.
But let's look at the behavior of Paul as his predictions come true. When everybody fell into despair, Paul gets up in front of everybody with a vision from above. He reminds them that had they listened to him, they would avoid these difficulties. But his intent was not to give them an I-told-you-so speech, but to give them hope during crisis. A Christian leader should not be afraid of the crisis, but should bring hope and a way out. During the time of the crisis, all other leaders quiet down and are paralyzed with fear. But Christian leaders come out onto the main stage and give people something secular leaders can't give. If Christian leaders successfully lead the public out of crisis, like Paul did, then once the crisis is over, the people will continue to listen to their ideas, worldview, and faith.
Being a prisoner on the ship, Paul takes charge of the ship. You see, a true leader doesn't need any titles, they will show themselves no matter what their title is.
Paul doesn't just give them a lecture on how desperate their situation is, but provides them with a plan for action. In this case, the plan was very simple: cheer up, 'cause God told me that we will end up on some island. That was good faith, but it couldn't be scientifically proven. But they didn't have a better idea, so they had to stick with Paul's plan. These people were lucky Paul ended up on their ship. You see, God wouldn't let Paul die, because Paul still had to go witness in Rome; and God decided to give Paul the rest of the people on the ship as well. A lot of times, Christian leaders can only preach on how gloomy the situation is during a crisis, but don't give people any hope or any way out. If you do that, you don't help the situation one bit, you just make people mad at you.
Christian leaders give people assurance in tomorrow. You can't get that from anywhere else. Not from news for sure. It seems like the goal of the media is to depress you even more. All they do all day long, is talk about how bad the crisis is, how many bad things happen in the world every day.
Paul didn't just talk about survival, he personally sets an example. When everybody on the ship stopped eating because they thought they would die anyways, he takes bread himself and starts eating. When Paul showed an example, others saw that he was pretty assured in a positive future himself; they cheered up themselves and started eating. You see, the way Paul painted the picture, it made sense to eat. If they would really survive the storm, they wouldn't want to die of starvation. But if they would die anyways, like they thought before, they only had a choice of dying of starvation or of a shipwreck. Christian leaders don't just talk positively, they show an example that demonstrates they believe in that themselves.
Now let's imagine what would happen to that ship had Paul not end up on it, or he didn't do anything on the ship. They would still sail into this storm, because that's what their logic dictated. They would still lose all their cargo and personal belongings in a few days. All the prisoners would be killed due to fear that some may escape after the ship was wrecked and everybody had to sail to shore on their own. The centurion forbade the soldiers to kill the prisoners because he wanted to save Paul. And the rest of the people on the ship would probably die after the ship crew ran away to spare their own lives. They only remained on the ship because Paul didn't let them run away. If they ran away, the rest of the people on the ship would drown without the drivers, and the ship crew themselves would probably drown in the ocean.
How many crisis's are there in the world today? And you know, the civilization will not correct itself all of sudden. The moral of the story: if Christian leaders are not in their rightful place, the modern civilization will perish just like that ship.