Full Speed Ahead; Never Mind Those Torpedoes!

“Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.”

Acts 14:19-20/NIV

During the Civil War, a famous nautical battle took place in August 1864 in Mobile Bay, Alabama. Many Confederate and Union ships faced each other in preparation for a fierce battle. Well-trained and experienced Admirals and sailors led each side—newly developed and cutting-edge “ironclad” warships and wooden steamers with sails faced each other. Mobile Bay was a narrow passage with two heavily armed Confederate forts on both sides. Union leaders had to push through but, in doing so, faced certain death!

Admiral David G. Farragut was a Union Admiral in charge of a ship sailing toward Confederate defenses. Confederate forces placed “torpedoes” (mines) in the shipping channel to slow down and halt the advancing Union fleet. When Farragut was advised of the “torpedoes” in the channel, he would not stop the Union advancement despite his ships being blown up. Farragut purportedly said, “Damn the torpedoes; go ahead – full speed!” He sailed through the menacing threat and continued with his orders! The mission must succeed!

Acts 14 focuses on two Apostles, Paul, and Barnabas, who faced symbolic “torpedoes” in their ministries but pushed forward, full speed ahead! Not everyone wanted to hear their message as they participated in the Great Commission, spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ. They routinely endured “torpedoes” in the form of scorn, rejection, and threats to their lives. Still, they had a vision and were driven to succeed in their ministries no matter what. Even if they died in their quests, as they had salvation through Jesus Christ, they knew where they’d spend eternity. Absent from the body – present with the Lord!

Admiral Farragut, Paul, and Barnabas had life-threatening missions to complete. The focal passage reflects Paul was stoned and left for dead but then hopped to his feet and marched on to his next mission. The Bible doesn’t reflect Paul saying, “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” but his actions reflect this type of bravery and commitment to his mission (the Great Commission). What dedication and perseverance these men demonstrated! I wonder if we can develop the same drive and persistence in our ministry endeavors.

Personal consideration: If we face resistance (symbolic torpedoes/minefields) from Satan during our ministry efforts, can we develop a mindset of “full speed ahead?” Good to consider! Never mind those torpedoes! Many blessings to you!

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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