Sunday morning’s sermon, delivered by Gospel Light’s beloved Pastor Vince Giardino, was titled “Driftwood”. (It’d make a great Clint Eastwood western movie title, would it not?) His preaching was directed at Christians, though saved by God’s eternal grace, who are drifting aimlessly in life, unfocused, wasting their time. Pastor opened by reading Mark 8:22-24 to introduce the passage’s analogy of men as trees, drifting. He continued on with a story of a shipwreck and the lone survivor, a girl who had been lashed to a boat by the crew. “She didn’t escape by her skill and wisdom. She escaped because she was fastened firmly to that which would not sink”, Pastor G. explained.
Our pastor’s sermon often include definitions, and so “driftwood” and its characteristics were defined, along with what it means to drift or to linger or slide. Then to hammer home the dangers of drifting, Pastor G. made it personal by describing a time he was distracted while driving, drifted into another lane, and side-swiped another vehicle. What had caught his eye? A “beautiful blond babe”, which turned out to be his very own wife.
We as vessels on the sea of life can drift. However, just as driftwood cannot sink, we too will not sink, secure in our salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, each of us is vulnerable to becoming a drifter in spiritual matters.
#1 Drifting Because of Devastation: Any tree can be separated from its roots by a catastrophic storm or flood, be cast into a river, sea or ocean, and be left to drift at the mercy of anything it encounters. It becomes bleached and brittle, being susceptible to everything it comes in contact with. So too can the saved be torn from the roots of his faith, falling on hard times as a Christian. Paul, in Acts 27:14-25,43-44, is an example to us on persisting through hard times and not giving up. Further, Paul teaches in 2 Cor 11:22-30 about tough times and still glorying in God.
#2 Drifting Because of No Distinction: Driftwood is discolored, sapped of all life, with no distinction. Christians of any age can drift away from God and be sapped of their energy and the power of faith, having run out of gas. Pastor Giardino says that is the “time to get refueled with wisdom and the power that comes from the Holy Ghost” (see Acts 1:8). Pastor read James 1:5-8 to encourage us to “ask of God” and avoid being a “double minded man” who wavers to and fro.
#3 Drifting Because of No Direction: “The root of righteousness shall not be moved” Prov:12:3, “but the root of righteousness yieldeth fruit.” Prov 12:12. The root system of Christians, the main root, is Jesus Christ. Take A.I.M. Our pastor said, Abide In Me; take root and grow up in Christ. This can’t happen if you are drifting. Don’t move about aimlessly, Pastor G. urged.
#4 Drifting Because of Detachment: Our pastor warned against “floating away from the fold”. You may be present in church, but your mind and spirit are detached, disengaged from the congregation. Pastor G. cited the German philosopher Schopenhauer who compared the human race to porcupines huddling for warmth, but because of the quills, wandering out on their own. We, as with the porcupines, could freeze to death in our loneliness.
#5 Drifting Because of Distraction: Often, other things in this world catch our attention, diverting our focus away from Jesus. Pastro G. told the story of Rip Van Winkle who fell asleep and was oblivious to all that changed around him. So also can we “have our heads in the clouds”, becoming “the prisoners of our own little world of trivialities.”
#6 Drifting to Decoration: Pastor Giardino preached about “just sitting there”, being nothing but “a lawn ornament”, and doing nothing to win people to Christ. People in your world get the impression that you possess no spiritual answers that can help them. By doing nothing, you are acting like a piece of driftwood.
A tree thrives on being rooted, Pastor reminded us. So must we stay rooted in the Lord, taking nourishment from His Word, and grasping the strong life line of Jesus Christ. Let not the trials of life, a lack of energy, the loss of direction, detachment, distractions, or idleness cause you to drift from the root of righteousness and its fruits.