By Clare Taylor
This was the clarion call of the Conquistador Hernando Cortès as his 600 men disembarked onto the shores of Mexico in 1519. Cortès had lured them with tales of treasure, hordes of riches that the Aztecs had successfully gathered and protected from invaders for 6 centuries. This New World was both strange and unfamiliar to them, yet swiftly this small band of soldiers was able to overthrow a large and powerful empire and those three words ‘Burn the Ships’ have been cited ever since as key to their victory.
We similarly stand on the edge of a ’new world,’ much of the change brought about by this last season is yet to be discovered and understood, we are still in place of fluidity and flux, with few fixed or clearly defined anchor points as a nation, what may be is yet to be fully seen, still unpredictable and unexpected to a degree. And we are about to cross over, in a way similar to Joshua and the Israelites as they crossed the Jordon, and moved into the promise land. Led by the Ark of God - symbolic of the presence of God, they crossed together. (Josh 3)
Together we too cross. On the cusp of this crossing, what does ‘Burn the Ships’ signal to you? What will you and what will we as a local church no longer rely on, look to and fall back on? It may be old patterns of behaviour and thought, past attempts and ways of doing things, former attitudes or solutions, even possessions and provisions. What are your ‘Ships?’ what do you need to ‘Burn’?
On one occasion Paul cites his old life and practices as his ‘Ships’ and puts it this way “I consider everything loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Phil 3:8.
Jesus makes a starker statement still “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom on God” Luke 9:62.
As we move forward, cross over and disembark in this new world, we know we are not chasing a Kingdom nor treasures of this world. We stand on this shore, like the Israelites, and can be sure God is leading us forward and onward to the fulfilment of our divine purposes. So let us together Burn the Ships.