“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.” (Acts 27:21, AV)
I once worked for a company in Switzerland that manufactured printing presses. Prior to that, I worked in research and development (R&D) analyzing the control systems that made the colors stay in alignment on printing presses. When I started with the Swiss company, they were fielding a new type of printing machine. One of the problems the new printing press had was in keeping the colors aligned. The Swiss company decided to sell a retrofit control system to keep the print colors in proper alignment (a registration control system). I knew the subcontractor that the Swiss company used to build the color register controls well and felt they would build a good system.
I installed the first control system un the U.S. However, the system did not improve the machine’s
performance. The colors stayed in better alignment with the control system turned off. I concluded that the circuit design had too much gain in the control so that when it saw an error in the color position it over corrected. This made matters worse. When I called our European engineers, they basically said that I didn’t know what I was talking about. They indicated that the system they installed in Germany was working perfectly.
Getting no help from Europe, I went directly to the subcontractor. They sent an engineer to meet me at the printing plant. He affirmed the diagnosis and they redesigned the circuitry. A few weeks later we installed the new circuit boards and the problem was corrected. The customer accepted the system.
However, that is not the end of the story. About a month later I received a phone call from our European engineers. They said, “What did you do to fix the problem with the registration control system?” The one they installed in Germany never really worked. The German operators just turned it off and ran without it. I wanted to say, “I told you so,” but I did not.
Paul while on his journey to Rome, ended up on a ship that encountered a fierce storm, a northeaster. Paul had previously warned them to not make the journey but to stay in a safe harbor in Crete for the winter. Yet, they would not even consider his warning. With the ship on the verge of sinking, Paul tells them the words that we would so often like to say, “ye should have hearkened unto me.”
In this episode, God had granted wisdom to Paul regarding the hazards that awaited the ship. Yet, the decision makers would not listen. This happens all too often. People have in their mind what they want and will not listen to sound reasoning. Many disasters have occurred because people will not even contemplate the warnings and advice of others.
We have two applications here. First, when we have insight or concerns about a course of action that someone is taking, we are obligated to say something even if the person to whom we speak rarely is willing to heed our advice.
Second, we must not fall into the trap of closing our ears to the advice of others. They may not be right, but a refusal to even consider what they say is a sign of disrespect and will shut down good input from others. Moreover, a wise man once told me that for every criticism there is a percentage of truth. It behooves us to give credence to the ideas and criticisms of others.