In the last week, I've seen this cutesy quote in two different places at two different times and that has caused me to turn it over in my head, investigating it from every angle, considering its truth and wondering about its supporting evidence. And I think I've maybe come up with a reason why we can stamp #truth on this little church billboard gem.
The Titanic was built for man's glory. The ark was built for God's glory.
When the Titanic was completed, it was heralded as the largest, finest vessel on the water. It was nicknamed the "Queen of the Ocean." Deemed unsinkable, it was the crowning glory of the White Star Line. There was nothing too fine for this beauty, no expense spared. And upon her all hope for notoriety, wealth and success were laid.
She sunk. And all the finery went with her.
While Noah built the ark, we suppose he was ridiculed. The Bible doesn't say so, but it would make sense that he was. It was remarkable but probably not in a good way.There hadn't been such a boat built before and some theologians suggest that there hadn't actually ever been rain before the flood. Why would they need a boat?
The men who built the Titanic knew exactly what they were doing. Or, at least, they thought they did. They thought that they had considered every possibility, prepared for every emergency and wrongly assumed that she would remain afloat thanks to her bodacious over-the-top finery and their out-of-control ego.
They were wrong. It turns out that man's ego is not enough to keep 52,000 tons of steel afloat.
Then there's Noah. Faithfully building this thing he'd never seen before, made with wood and pitch, not knowing exactly what it was for or why he needed it. God told him to do it and that was good enough for him. He'd never built one before, in fact, no one had, and so there were no engineers or architects or boatswains to ask how to do this.
And he had faith that this behemoth boat God asked him to build would actually float.
Was the ark better constructed than the Titanic? I doubt it. It certainly didn't have technology on its side. Did it serve the same purpose as the Titanic? Of course not. But it's not really about the boat at all, is it? It's about what happens when we trust ourselves a little too much and God a little too little.
We guess that it took Noah up to 100 years to build the ark. He was 500 when we first 'met' him in Genesis 5 and 600 when he boarded the ark.Can you imagine the walk of faith he traversed in those 100 years? Can you imagine the talks he had with God? If he's like me, I'm certain he asked God regularly what the heck He was doing and probably even thought up other ways to do it better, bigger, faster than how he was told.
I'm certain there were blisters and splinters, stubbed toes and smashed thumbs. Noah probably tripped over a few logs and got pitch in his beard. He was probably the laughingstock, the village idiot. Yet he kept on building, slow and sure, one log at a time, doing what God put before him. Nothing more, nothing less.
Noah didn't forsake his calling for his ego.
Isn't that the point? He was righteous in a world that wasn't. He was a man of God in a world that was full of wickedness and evil. He wasn't a professional boat builder. But he was an obedient in his walk with God and that's why God chose him to build the ark.
God doesn't need professionals. He doesn't need egos. He doesn't even need finery. He just needs obedient, willing servants who walk with Him and give Him all of themselves.
We can build the biggest, finest boat and fill it with the fanciest furnishings and trim, but if we do it for our glory, it will surely sink when we push it out into the water. Likewise, a simple boat made by a righteous heart of obedience to God, won't just float. It will likely save a life.
A simple boat of logs and mud will be the finest we've ever seen when it reflects the glory of God and not the glory of man.