Empty the ocean with a thimble

By Dave Henning / December 16, 2022

“We’d sooner empty the ocean with a thimble than fulfill [God’s calling and challenges].  Change the world?  Why, most days we can’t even change ourselves.”- Max Lucado

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”- Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)

In Chapter 3 (“Raise Your Sail”) of Help is Here, Max Lucado opens with the stories of Katie Spotz and Laura Dekker.  Both completed solo trips.  Katie rowed across the Atlantic, while Laura sailed around the world.

At the age of seventeen, in 2012 Laura became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo.  She harnessed the power of the wind using a two-mast, forty-foot sailboat named Guppy.  Most significantly, Laura’s challenge included sidestepping reefs and surviving many storms.  Her journey required one year and five months.  But she made it.

Certainly, Max quips, he’d prefer a root canal with no painkiller over endless days alone in the open water.  However, if forced to choose between rowing and sailing, Max knows his preference.  Hence, Pastor Lucado asks, do you know your preference?  Would you, spiritually speaking, describe your vessel as a rowboat or a sailboat?

In addition, Max relates the story of a friend’s ten-year-old son, who ran away from home.  At the end of the day, the boy walked up the driveway, head hung low.  When his father asked him what the experience taught him, the boy answered.  He said he learned “that everywhere I go, I take me with me.”

Finally, Pastor Lucado adds:

“Don’t we all.  We take our greed, our selfishness, our wounds and warts.  We dare not think for a moment that we have the power to be the person God wants us to be.  But nor do we dare to think that God will fail to give it to us.  He empowers us to be what he calls us to be.”

Today’s question: How often have you tried to empty the ocean with a thimble?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the Christmas Short Meditation, “A challenge as well as a promise”

Tomorrow’s blog: “Nothing appears in visible form”

About the author

Dave Henning

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