We must pay careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. Hebrews 2:1 (NIV)
During a trip to Wyoming, Glen and I took a raft trip down the Snake River. We signed up for the scenic trip not the white water one, so I did not give the first thought to our safety until we discovered that several people drowned on a similar trip the week before. Therefore, we listened carefully to the instructions on safety procedures before we boarded the raft. Our guide, Andy, explained exactly how we were to sit in the raft and how to stay afloat until he could rescue us if we fell into the river. We all made sure our life vests fit properly and gingerly made our way to our seats once he assisted us into the large, round, air filled raft. As we made our way down the river, Andy juggled the responsibility of steering the raft downstream and teaching us about our surroundings and the plants and animals along our way. Most of the trip, he talked a steadily and told fascinating stories. He managed to project his voice above the rumbling that constantly accompanied our float. This noise, the sound of rocks tumbling along the river, beat against the bottom of the raft. Occasionally, when the waters became rough Andy warned us that he needed to stop talking to focus on his work. He skillfully maneuvered around fallen trees, sandbars and other debris floating beside us. Andy told us that he has been a river guide for many years, but that each spring, his first journey down the river is always different. Winter storms and spring floods constantly change the flow and route of the river. He said that at the beginning of each tourist season, and periodically through the spring and summer, each guide will travel the river’s route in his raft alone in order to better learn where submerged limbs and other dangerous obstacles might be located. Then, that guide is responsible for sharing what he has learned with the rest of the river guides. While it may have appeared to tourists like ourselves that the raft simply drifted along, it was really Andy’s skill and wisdom as well as his constant attention to the changing river, which kept us safe. In our Christian faith, sometimes, we think we know it all. Surely we have reached the point that we can get through the rest of this life on autopilot. But, every moment brings new challenges, opportunities to be obedient and to share our faith with others. In order to safely navigate the temptations that Satan will throw our way, we have to keep our eyes open. Remaining in fellowship with other Christians will help them on their journey as well. Fortunately, we have a Guide who is ever faithful, always ready to help and give us the wisdom that we need. Whether the way is treacherous or appears calm, our Heavenly Father walks beside us. All we need to do is pay attention to His instructions. Stay alert! Don’t drift away!