The "British Sportsman"

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 5
The 16,000-ton-tanker, British Sportsman, was berthed at an oil dock in Antwerp, Belgium. The ship had just unloaded three million gallons of crude oil from Kuwait on the Persian Gulf. To make the vessel easier to handle on the high seas, the emptied oil tanks were being filled with water for ballast.
It was miserable weather in the late fall. The air was beginning to turn cold, and leaden clouds dropped their loads of moisture with annoying regularity as they passed. It was a welcome sight to see the sun come out occasionally.
After supper one evening some of the crew who were staying aboard made themselves comfortable in their cabins. The others prepared to go ashore. Suddenly a storm struck. Starting quietly enough with a patter of rain and a few gusts of wind, the rain soon got heavier and the wind blew stronger. Doors aboard ship slammed shut as the wind whistled through the passageways. Almost immediately a howling gale was blowing.
Suddenly and without warning the ship gave a lurch. There was a sound of grinding metal. People on the dock and some aboard the ship shouted warnings. One of the deckhands ran through the ship crying out, "ALL HANDS ON DECK!"
Everyone from the captain down came running. The ship had broken her mooring lines and was drifting helplessly before the gale. Four large cables and numerous broken lines dangled uselessly down the side of the ship. Her engines were being overhauled. Having no power of her own, she soon was blown a quarter of a mile off from her berth.
The captain ordered the anchors to be let down at once. When the winches stopped their whirring we knew the anchors had struck bottom. Would the anchors hold? The ship stopped drifting—the anchors held! She was safe from following her aimless, dangerous course.
Like this ship, we have no power within ourselves to work our own salvation. Nothing in us can prevent us from going to a lost eternity. Before the British Sportsman could be safe and secure, the anchors had to be let down into the water. They were useless while lying on the ship's deck; only when they were dropped overboard outside the ship and were safely held on the bottom were they of any use in saving the ship.
This is like the need of every sinful soul! Not by our own doings can we be saved, but rather our trust must be placed outside of ourselves—in Christ. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. (Eph. 2:88For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8).)
Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isa. 45:2222Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22).)