Turning The Attitude Tide: Acts 27:33-38
“33) Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing. 34) Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.” 35) Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. 36) All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food. 37) All of us in the ship were two hundred and seventy-six persons. 38) When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea.” Acts‬ ‭27‬:‭33‬-‭38‬
When read slowly in context, Paul quickly stepped into the role of an encourager. The team had just been divided. The sailors that attempted the mutiny could have been tried for treason. I am sure there were some soldiers present who were more than eager to carry out the sentence. There was every reason to play “the blame game?” Instead, Paul worked toward unity.
He started speaking encouraging words. He acknowledged that they were tired, exhausted and therefore a bit edgy. He acknowledged that they were all hungry and fatigued. He encouraged them to eat and take food. Then he changed the conversation from loss and despair to hope and survival.
These are characteristics of a true leader. During this darkest hours, defeat was not in his vocabulary and he refused to allow infighting or division. Instead, he pulled the whole 276 together and celebrated a meal.
Verse 37 then records the crucial phrase, “all of us.” Luke again included himself in the story. Keep in mind, he was the beloved physician. The love, care, encouragement and influence of this small group of Christians became contagious. They turned the attitude tide from despair to hope. From negative to positive. From anger to compassion. From open condemnation to encouragement. They made the most of a bad situation.
God was at work. A new day dawned that morning with faith and optimism. I in no way believe all had become Christians, but the seeds of the gospel were broadly sown by both word and deed.
I would rather be sinking on a ship with godly and virtuous Christians than partying in a tavern with the vile, vulgar and ungodly. On the other hand, keep me far from the grumbling, complaining and back stabbing carnal Christan. There is a putrid stench about them that causes even God to plug His nose.
As it was, the stage was set for the miraculous. God was about to validate the gospel with a mighty deed of deliverance. Gods greatest works come during otherwise impossible circumstances.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global