Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Captains Tale: A story of the soul

     I’ve lived my whole life at sea. I ran my ship with precision, seeking the best profit and reward for the ruthless owner. I profited from my job and I adapted to his ways. He sold slaves and ruined lives, all to promote his own interests and advantage. He stole property and raped the land to benefit only himself, but the owner’s success was also my success. He rewarded me well, yet there was a cost that is hard to describe.

     I continually sought meaning in my life, yet the things I received did not seem to satisfy. The owner promised me success, but the joy of this success was fleeting and I found myself seeking wealth and material things, not caring who I hurt in the process. My way conformed to the owner’s way. The owner determined the destiny of my ship and set the course.
     People fears us when we came into port. People who cower and move away, in awe and respect, yet a respect with fear and mistrust.
     Sometimes the owner beat the slaves that ran the ship. Sometimes he hurt me. But always he justified his actions and words, saying the beatings were necessary to get the outcome he desired. The end justified the means, he would say. You will all see this is best in the end, he would say. I was beginning to wonder, yet the course was set. My job was secure and, although I didn’t receive the promised contentment yet, I always thought it was just outside of my grasp. One day I would find it and be content and happy in my life.
     One day, a stranger entered the owner’s office. A fight broke out. The owner would not back down, but the stranger was stronger. He owner was killed. The stranger walked up to me and declared, “I am now the new owner of the ship. Change course, we are setting sail into seas charted by my Father.”
     This man was not like the old owner. His words were hard for me to comprehend. He spoke with such authority. I tried to argue with him as he turned the ship around and headed the opposite direction. I watched as things around me began to change. I became afraid and unsure. My whole world was changing in a moment’s time and the change was drastic.
     He told me to remove the flag with the skull marked the ship and replace it with his banner of love. This owner was kind and loving, but had strength of steel. In the beginning, I mistrusted the new owner; I fought against every command. The owner’s ways didn’t make sense to me. The owner began to revamp the whole ship, outfitting it for a new purpose.
      He commanded me to dump the guns overboard. “What??!!” I exclaimed. “How do we protect ourselves? We are at war!” The owner said, “We don’t need to protect ourselves anymore. We are protected. We do not fight with guns anymore. Get rid of cannon balls also and put in storage units with wheat and dry goods. We will bring food to every port, focusing on life and transformation of the people. This is my Father’s command. He owns the whole fleet.”
     I tried to intimidate the new owner with with my position as captain. I had been in charge of the ship. I accused the owner to his face, trying to get him to follow my path, but he refused. I tried to gain power and return to the system I was trained under. I was comfortable with the old way, even though it was cruel. But the owner stood his ground. He wouldn’t budge. Calmly, without anger or spite, the owner told me, “We will go this way, charting this new course, whether you like it or not. My Father knows the way and His way is right. I do not care how you feel. Your feelings are trained by the old system you lived under. Now you will do what I tell you to do. This way is right, even though you do not yet understand why.”
     As I watched, I realized the new owner was very good to people. I think he actually loves them. He looks to their interests and not just his own. He is kind and he is patient with them, even when they argue with him or steal something he owns. When our ship comes into port, the people no longer shrink back from us in fear. Instead they cheer with gratitude, for wherever we go, he brings light and health to a community. People in the community transforms around him as he declares to them the love of his Father. Health comes to the people.
     The owner’s very essence is light. It’s very foreign and uncomfortable to me, and I feel myself want to pull back from the light. I don’t quite know what to think. I feel afraid and insecure. Everything is different and I don’t know quite what to believe. Yet, the more I watch the owner and understand who he really is, I am finding that my thinking is beginning to change.
     If I argue with the owner saying, “This is not going to work,” he responds with quiet assurance declaring, “My father is in charge, and He does all his work for the good of the whole fleet, working within every ship, moving it toward the perfect destination. He is fully trustworthy.”
     I would sometimes retort, “I’ve been running these ships for many years, you are new. How can you really know the way?” With steel patience velveted in love, the owners said, “The knowledge I’m bringing is ions old. My Father is the wisdom of the ages, and this is where my knowledge is from. Your knowledge is from your experiences; my knowledge is from a well so deep it’s source is unending.” “But,” I cry, “look at the other ships, they are all dressed for war. They will be ready for battle, but we will stand out and be at risk of destruction.”
     “We have a different purpose that is lasting and powerful,” the owner calmly explains. As I listen, the calm assurance of the owner causes me to listen. “Could it be true?” I think to myself.. “Others work for a different purpose, they seek to serve themselves, and their road will leads to destruction not only for themselves but the others they influence. I’ve seen it happen to others and myself. I sought pleasure, but was never satisfied. Now I had a glimpse of something so different, so freeing, that hope kindled within me. The owner’s Father charted a course that brings peace to his people and praise to Himself for he is a good master, full of mercy and love.” I thought hard. Dwelling on the words the owner said and the results his life produced. I found myself believing the owner and realigning myself to our new purpose.”
     As I began to transform, I noticed transformation around me. People began to praise me and thank me for coming to their city, for helping them so much. I had to say, “it’s not really me, it’s the owner and His Father. I live to the purpose of the Father now. He is leading and His way is transforming my life too.” The owner is retraining me by focusing me on the truth of his Father’s words and on the heart of his Father. The owner teaches me to think differently about my purpose, about myself and about how to love others.
     One day, I pulled the owner aside and asked, “Why are you like this?” “I am just the representative of my Father,” he replied, “who is the true owner of all the fleets. He is the king of all the land and He is good king. His heart is full of love for the people. His anger burns against the slavery of their condition, against the evil things they do to themselves and others. His anger burns against the greed of the evil owners of each evil ship. My Father has come to set them free if they will fully surrender to His leadership. My Father has put me in charge of this ship and this ship will obey me as I do the will of my Father. I will not obey you or let you rule this ship any longer. You must now learn to think like me.  You are a slave to me, but you are free and will be made whole as you trust my Father and me. I’m his child. He’s given me this great assignment. What pleases me is when I come back to port and he declares, “Son, I am so pleased with you. Well done.” My Father loves me and I love Him. I have no greater pleasure than to bring Him joy.”

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