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19th September 2014

Do You Know How To Punt?

A few weeks ago when in the UK, my friends and I decided to have a go at punting on the River Cherwell in Oxford. Like many people, they had never heard the word ‘punt’ before or that this was a traditional and popular boat ride in cities like Oxford and Cambridge.

The young man who gave us the boat asked if we knew how to punt. With a degree of bravado we answered in the negative but still did not wait for instructions. After all, it was evident that all it took to propel the boat forward was pushing a long pole against the river bed.

It wasn’t that easy. After circling a number of times, crashing under the shrub, repeatedly pointing in the wrong direction and enduring a near miss with another boat, all we could do was laugh. Enviously eyeing other punters glide by without much effort, we resorted to using a little paddle to help us move out of our predicament.  At least we were spared the disconcerting stares of the group of youth in charge of the Punt Hire company who were busy chatting amongst themselves rather than wasting time seeing us amply prove our previous negative answer to the question ‘do you know how to punt?’

Maybe that is how some people tend to live their lives. Rather than listening to God’s ‘instructions’ we’d rather do things our own way with dismal results. Not a few may think that the Lord’s commandments and His will, add weight to their life, ‘spoil the fun’ and restrict them. in reality the opposite is true: Jesus came to take the weight of our sin, to show us the way to eternal joy and to free us from our bondages.

Eventually our punting improved and we made it safely back to shore. But life is not a punt and we cannot afford to get it wrong. What we need to is pray and genuinely seek the Lord at all times, to find our what His ‘good, pleasing and perfect will is’ (Rom 12:2). Get His instructions and put them into practice. That’s the punt … I mean the point!

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