I have never been on a cruise ship, but I have been told by numerous relations and friends that it is the ultimate vacation experience. You never have to worry about transportation. Each stop is a fabulous destination. And while you’re on the boat, its basically a luxurious resort where you can do anything you want without ever needing to leave. Wonderful beaches, clear skies, all-you-can-eat buffets, what more could you want?
In contrast to the relaxing picture I just painted, an aircraft carrier is that of efficiency not vacation. Every person on the aircraft carrier has a job to do with a greater goal in mind. Yes there’s still food, the destinations may differ slightly but could be considered exotic, and for entertainment I’m sure more than one prank has occurred on these navy vessels.
Followers of Christ can take two mindsets: the cruise ship mentality or that of an aircraft carrier.
And the most common factor of these two ships? The people.
Both sets of people got on the boat with specific goals in mind. One looking to fill themselves to the brim with food and entertainment, the other looking to empty themselves to fulfill a greater purpose.
Guess which one Christ has called us to be.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul writes about the Church being the body of Christ and how each person functions in a different but critical role. And as the body of Christ, we are able to fulfill our purpose of serving Christ and making disciples. I know what you’re thinking, if you’re a pinky toe or a fingernail, how useful or essential can you be? The body can still function at a normal rate without these things.
But look again at our aircraft carrier. Each person on that ship has a role. Some are glamorous and obviously essential, the pilots and captains, the flight deck crew, the top brass that make the tough decisions. These are the people that others are going to recognize and applaud. But what about the cooks or those in charge of maintenance? What if the person in charge of inspecting the landing gear or the one in charge of ordering supplies decided to skip a day?
Carriers can have 6,000 people on board. 6,000 people with different jobs to help keep the ship and airplanes on target. If someone decides their job isn’t important, untold ramifications can occur causing operations to cease and the mission to halt. One person decides their role isn’t important then the vessel doesn’t function as it was meant to. As Paul writes, “God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 24b-26 ESV).
Each day, we make a choice of which mentality we are going to take, whether we realize it or not. We either live this life for the glory of ourselves or the glory of God. We either choose to follow our own way or follow Christ.