It was a long flight, but the chat with the passenger seated to my right made the journey interesting.
The conversation began with superficial comments, then it got a bit serious when we discussed religions. She asked me about mine and I answered. “I’m a Christian.”
“I believe all religions have something in common,” she said. “After all, all religions lead to the same God.”
Was she right? Or was she wrong?
We live in a world that mirrors the Titanic. We all know the story. Passengers who enjoyed the journey filled each deck of that luxurious ship. They focused on the celebration; certain they would reach their destination.
Sadly, that never happened. But more tragic is that we’re on the similar journey, each on different decks of life–with different ideologies, philosophies, beliefs and religions.
The first deck is filled with folks who embrace a bit of all religions. They accept any doctrine that feels comfortable and seems pleasantly correct.
They’re busy connecting with the ship, promoting unity with those on the other decks. They’re chanting, meditating, doing loving, noble things, connecting to the divine within.
But just like any cruise ship, the captain makes announcements over the loud speaker. In this case the Divine Captain announces: “This ship is going to sink. But I love you all so much I don’t want anyone to perish. I have a life boat with your name on it. It’s free. All you need to do is accept it (Paraphrased from John 3:16).
No one listens.
The second deck on the ship is filled with folks who embrace the popular trend, the latest guru, and the philosophy that brings warm fuzzy feelings. In the end they believe in nothing specific. Yet get busy filling the void in their hearts with everything from work, exercise, travel and even addictions. They follow nothing. And a sense of emptiness follows them instead.
Confession time. Thirty years ago, I reserved a room on this deck. While I was losing my sight, I embraced anything or any offer that could bring me hope of healing. I came back empty.
Again, the Divine Captain announces over the loud speaker: This ship is going to sink, your life boat is waiting for you. It’s free and available.
No one listens.
The third deck on the ship is filled with Christians in name only. As a pastor once said, they’re sneaky Christians. They’re saintly on Sundays and sinful the rest of the week. (Ask me how I know.) They are quick to become mentally judgmental and openly opinionated, disregarding God’s warning in Matthew 7:1-5:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (NIV)
Waving my hand in the air, I admit that was me at times. And with shame, I admit overlooking the Gospel and entered into gossip instead.
One more announcement from the Divine Captain:
When the ship sinks, no one will be saved. But I do offer salvation and have eternal life prepared for you, the life boat is waiting for you.
No one listens. They disregard it as it simplistic, too easy, and seemingly intolerant to think it’s the only way to life eternal.
But once again, the Bible quotes Jesus’ words in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (NIV)
A few decades ago, I lost my sight and, for the first time, I saw the way, the only way. I accepted the life boat by confessing with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, believing in my heart He died for my sins and through Him I took ownership of that life boat taking me to eternity in heaven.
Millions have done the same. But what do we do while still on earth? Should we sit back and relax, settle on a lounger, enjoy the ocean breeze and sip our tropical drink?
Quite the contrary. We put on the hat of love, kick of those sandals to run faster through those decks. And in the midst of bad news all around, we point them to the loud speaker announcing the Good News. “As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” (Romans 10:15 NIV).
Back to the question: Do all religions lead to the same God? The answer is found in the depth of each heart. One thing is certain, the ship will sink, physical death will come. And even more real is that our eternal destiny is marked by our personal choice.
What is beautiful, however, is the God of the Bible doesn’t invite us to practice a religion. But rather, He invites us to rely on His salvation through His son Jesus. His Word says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NIV).
Let’s Pray: Father, I confess, I was happy living on my own deck, sailing on the ship of life. I thank You for the free gift that transformed my life and guaranteed everlasting life with you. In Jesus name.
On which deck of life are you spending your days lately?
Janet P. Eckles