Preach the word – Stephen J. Melniszyn

2 Timothy 4:1-2

The Titanic was the largest commercial cruise ship of its time. Constructed in 1909 and launched in 1911; it was a testament to man’s strength at wielding steel and a sign of the Industrial Age. So proud of the ship, the builders and newspapers dubbed it as being “unsinkable”. Of course, we all know the history as on the night of April 14th, 1912, Titanic would sink in the cold depths of the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the loss of 1,500 souls. Soon after, myriads of investigations would be made into why the Titanic sank. Human error would be the big culprit that played into the sinking of the “unsinkable” ship. Throughout the centuries the controversies of the Captain and the owner of White Star Lines would be the center of the tragedy, yet there was another. Come centuries later, it would be discovered by structural and mechanical engineers that the rudder of the ship played a part in the sinking of the vessel.

Though the Titanic was the largest of ship at the time, it rudder was not. One of the many factors that caused the sinking of the Titanic was its small rudder. During the night of the sinking there was no white caps, or breaks in the ocean, which would allow the Captain and the those in the crows nest to identify if there were any icebergs in the area. It was an unusually calm night in the Atlantic. So calm, that those in the Crows nest could not see the iceberg ahead of them until the last minute. As the wheel was turned hard to starboard, the ship could not turn fast enough due to the small rudder. Thus, it made contact with the iceberg and nearly two hours later, the ship was swallowed up by the Atlantic.

The rudder of any vessel is important. It steers the vessel. If there is no rudder, than the vessel is at the mercy of the ocean. The tempest of the sea can cause the ship to be swayed into any direction and in many cases, can cause the vessel to sink if the waves are dangerous. A small rudder, or a broken rudder can cause any vessel of any size to be at the mercy of the sea.

The same saying can be said of the Pulpit. The Pulpit is as a rudder that steers the church. It can steer the church into harms way or can cause the death of the church. Yes, the pulpit is nothing more than multiple pieces of wood, it is inanimate and has no life. Yet, it is what comes from out of the Pulpit that steers and directs the church. It is the pastor, it is the teacher that steers the church. Sadly today, many so called pastors and teachers are steering the church into the tempest of the world. They believe that the culture can help steer the church into the right direction. They use worldly means, stories of therapeutic morality and self to steer the church. When in reality they are using a small rudder that will only steer the ship into the dangerous, ragged rocks of the shore and not allow them to escape when the moment comes.

In 2 Timothy 4, the Apostle Paul commands a young Timothy to “Preach the Word”. Knowing that his time is near, the Apostle directs Timothy to preach not about himself, the culture, therapeutic moralism, but the Word of God be preached. It is the Word of God that steers the church through the storms that arise. It is the preaching of the Word that causes the church to be stable and not sink when the tempest of the world batters against her. It is the preaching of the Word that gives the church vitality and vibrant health.

Thus it is the call of every pastor and teacher to heed the words of the Apostle Paul, “Preach the Word.”

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