The Danger of Drifting
by Terry Broome
The story is told of a man standing on the bank of the Niagara River who saw a dead sheep being swept down by the current. An eagle lighted on the sheep. The body sank for a moment under the weight and then came to the surface again. The day was bitter cold and the wool that had wrapped round the talons of the eagle began to freeze. Meantime the sheep was being swept more and more rapidly toward the falls, but the eagle had not the slightest fear. Had you shouted a warning, and could an eagle respond, he would possibly have laughed at you. He might have said, “Don’t disturb yourself. Don’t you see these great wings? There’s not the slightest danger.” And now the great drop is only a few feet away. The time has come. The eagle spreads his great brown wings and fans the air, but they do not lift him. The weight of the sheep is too much, and the frozen wool holds him fast to the sheep. While his great wings frantically beat the air, he is swept to his death.
Now there was a time when this eagle could easily have saved himself. He was not made for such an ugly and ignoble fate. He was made for the cloud land and the upper air. He was made with the capacity to spurn the earth and “bathe his plumage in the thunder’s home.” But he allowed himself the deadly luxury of drifting, and the end was disaster.
We too are made for nobler, loftier things, but we very well may cling to the world until we become so entangled that we don’t know how to turn loose in time to be saved. We cannot afford to drift knowing that one can drift until it is too late. The Hebrew writer reminds us of this danger in Hebrews 2:1-4 (NKJV): “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?”
There are many ways in which we might be drifting. One can drift along and drift away just by allowing himself to get into a “rut,” while still going through all the right motions, but forgetting their significance or meaning. We might drift by loosening our grip on faith, and the hearing of faith which comes from diligent Bible study. We might drift by losing touch with our spiritual side by not communing and praying, by not allowing ourselves to be filled with the spirit of singing praises. Some have drifted so long and so far from their spiritual mooring that they seemingly can’t find their way back home – drifted beyond their ability to be touched by the power of God’s saving Gospel. Whatever the cause, drifting is dangerous business, and time is running out.
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.