My Grandpa Graber taught me about plowing a straight furrow through the field. Don’t look down or immediately in front of you, but keep focused on a mark across the field, a fence post or something. I don’t recall that I ever plowed a field, but I have employed the technique in mowing the lawn. I still do!
Years ago, on occasion, I had the opportunity to pilot the Reefmaker. It really was a joy. We would head out at sunrise and spend all day and most of the night out in the Gulf. It was one of those solitude experiences.. Just me, Walt the young deckhand (who was usually asleep), the drone of the engines, the sky and the sea. Those starry nights at sea were spectacular. The boat was slow, six or seven knots. I would match the speed of the two engines so they sang one note. We had a mechanical autopilot that I locked in once the course was set. The autopilot was not connected to our navigation instruments, which meant that our course had to be checked periodically. As I mentioned, the boat was slow, so being a few degrees off course could cost you a lot of time. Worse than that, once in awhile the autopilot would disengage. Though I had done my best to synchronize the engines, without the autopilot the boat would veer to the port side and track in a big circle.
In a letter to a friend dated January 9, 1738, George Whitfield writes, “God, give me a deep humility and a burning love, a well-guided zeal and a single eye…”
Whitfield’s prayer is powerful and profound. “A deep humility” will keep you checking your heading. Not one of us is beyond error or getting off track. We are here to serve the Lord and not ourselves or our own desires.
“A burning love” keeps me from apathy and sloth. As I comprehend God’s love for me in Christ Jesus, I am compelled to love Him back and live to honor Him.
“A well guided zeal” keeps my “engines” running in harmony rather than in opposition or conflict. My energy and desire in life is to honor the Lord Jesus in all I do in every aspect of my life.
And “a single eye” keeps me focused on the mission. Luke records this about Jesus; “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51) Jesus knew his mission and purpose, and when it was time “he set his face,” he had “a single eye.” Nothing would turn him aside from fulfilling his mission, to be the sacrifice for sinners.
It is my pleasure to serve with you.
For Christ and His Church,
Rick Fennig, Pastor
PO Box 3194 • Gulf Shores, AL 36547 • 251.968.5302
A Congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America