gets to participate in Aslan’s Great Quest, or in Jesus’ Great
King Caspian shows the sailors on the Dawn Treader
that it is more of a privilege than a duty to serve on the crew.
The Dawn Treader’s Crew: “need to” or “get to” go
Michael Krigline, North Canton, Ohio (Dec 2010)
I can’t wait to see the new Narnia film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader
(which opens today in the USA). But the last time I read this timeless book,
the King of Narnia taught me a few things about “who gets to participate” in
grand adventures. And I think C.S. Lewis (the creator of Narnia) would agree
that King Caspian's methods could provide a powerful example to those who
lead our churches, as well as to anyone who has ever invited a friend to
embark on the greatest adventure of them all: following Jesus.
You “need to” come--a personal experience
While on vacation a few years ago, I visited
a large church. A guest evangelist was in the pulpit, telling those in
attendance why they “need to” come along on Jesus’ Great Adventure. A brief
description of his methods may explain why few accepted his invitation. With
fiery metaphors and sarcastic illustrations he chided the congregation for
their unfaithfulness. He cited dwindling attendance, lack of prayer,
shortages of workers, inconsistent giving, etc., as evidence of their
need for “something better.” Next, he trained his sights on unnamed (and
un‑present!) pastors for not working together, not sharing their pulpits,
and for being more jealous of their sheep‑count than zealous for their
Finally, it was time for the invitation:
“come, guilty sinners; you need to repent and let God have your sorry
life....” Two brave souls stepped out, but the evangelist was not satisfied,
so he extended the invitation to those needing special prayer on
account of their sin. A few more trickled forward (and I couldn't help but
notice the absence of men among those responding). Still not satisfied, the
invitation continued to expand. He had his heart set on a packed altar, and
would thunder guilt and shame until it happened! Finally he called for all
who "want revival" to come forward. Many slowly came--others quietly left.
The speaker was passionate and persistent,
and many of his complaints were valid, but if the goal was to excite the
church to move forward in serving their King, it seemed to have the opposite
effect. Maybe the listeners were just tired after years of service, but
could it be that they simply failed to grasp how glorious “serving the King”
You “get to” come--Caspian’s
Meanwhile, back on the Dawn Treader, the crew
(much like the average congregation, I thought) was also tired. The Treader
was in port, nearing the end of a long journey. They had set out in great
pomp to sail "to the world's end--and
the beginning of Aslan's Country!" But on the way, "through many dangers,
toils and snares, they had already come." The King and other leaders were
ready for the last leg of the journey, but among the crew there was mutiny
in the air.
Like our well‑intentioned evangelist, King
Caspian could have reminded the sailors of their pledged responsibilities.
He could have accused them of
unfaithfulness or laziness--even
treason. But the wise King knew he needed hearts, not just bodies, in order
to achieve success in the uncharted seas beyond the
horizon. With the tenderness of voice which can only come from the heart of
one who loves you, King Caspian spoke to the crew on the eve of departure:
Friends, I think you have not quite understood our purpose. You talk as if
we had come to you begging for shipmates. It isn't like that at all. We have
an errand to the world's edge. It is our pleasure to choose from among such
of you as are willing those whom we deem worthy of so high an enterprise. I
shall now command the captain to consider carefully what men among you are
the hardest in battle, the most skilled seamen, the purest in blood, the
most loyal to our person, and the cleanest of life and manners.
Mane! Do you think that the privilege of seeing the last things is to be
bought with a song? Why, every man that comes with us shall bequeath the
title of Dawn Treader to all his descendants and when we land at home he
shall have either gold or land enough to make him rich all his life!
Sights were raised! A vision was imparted! Within the half hour, all but one
had asked to be considered worthy of the honor! The altars were packed, and
the crew was ready to press on in the great unfinished task that lay before
Those of us who have
accepted the challenge to serve the King of Kings--the
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ--have
a high calling. To the sinner (and all have sinned, falling short of the
perfect standard God set for us), we bring both the call to repentance and
an invitation to begin the Great Adventure. To the saint (fellow crew
members on the Great Adventure), we bring the winds of hope to revive
travel-weary sails, a trustworthy compass to point the way ahead, and the
promise of the Great Captain's "Well done!" to beckon God's people on to
victorious exploits in His Name!
The horizons call us ever
forward! The great cloud of witnesses is cheering us on! So let us forget
what is behind and strain toward what is ahead. Do we think that the
privilege of seeing the last things is to be bought with a song? No!
Although our voyage begins when we admit our utter need for the free gift of
salvation, once we respond we are boarding a troop ship, not a cruise liner.
The privilege of celebrating on the endless shores of God’s grace goes to
“good and faithful servants” who “endure to the end,” having embraced the
hope of the gospel and the liberty of obedience.
So, rejoice if our Captain
has chosen you—those who have not shirked the call to battle, who
have been redeemed by His blood, who are most loyal to His Person, and who
are the cleanest of life and manners. Rejoice, for the King has said we “get
to” co-labor with Him, pressing on together toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus!
See my Movie Study Guides for The Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe, and Prince Caspian
For more information about Christianity, check out
The article ©2010 Michael Krigline, all rights
reserved. Permission granted to print/copy for personal use.
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