The Wreck of Atlantis
We have been given the precious gift of time, we can't afford to waste it.
By Danny Faris
Accountability, Choices, Godliness
Approximately 10 minutes
(It isn't necessary, but having a small toy boat or ship in your hand while telling the story adds a nice touch. It makes the story more real to the children, especially at the end.)
It was cold, that early morning in October, when the Atlantis set sale for her long voyage. Well, OK ... she didn't exactly set sail, she was an old steamship, but it sounds better to say it like that, don't you think?
She, the Atlantis, was carrying a load of timber logs for a distant land. Her hold was packed full of large, dry blocks of wood for a big building project. The logs were very heavy, and the journey ahead of the great ship was long. But the captain and crew had taken this trip many times before. They loved the gently-rolling waves, the cool ocean breezes, and the soft splash of fish and other sea creatures. They liked nothing better than to spend a couple of weeks on the calm, glassy ocean waters.
However, only a few days out of the local harbor, the weather took a turn for the worse. Those gently-rolling waves the crew liked so much became tall and fierce. The cool ocean breezes became strong and cold. All of the splashing fish disappeared and dove deep into the water seeking shelter from the growing storm.
At first it was just another Eastern squall. They happened from time to time, out here on the open water. No big deal. But this time, long into the night, the rough seas dragged on and on. In fact, if anything, the waves seemed to be growing worse. No one got any sleep. By morning, most everyone on the old steamship became tired and anxious.
The captain was worried, too. Oh, he'd weathered many an ocean gale in his years at sea. He was always quiet and calm in rough water, but there was just something about this storm, something he simply could not explain. He was very concerned. As the Atlantis plowed farther into the raging wind and the crashing waves, the captain felt a cold chill, way down deep in his bones. He simply could not shake it off. Something was terribly wrong.
Bang! Bang! With a terrible roar, the heavy logs, deep in the hold of the ship, broke loose from their ropes and rolled around below like claps of thunder. The captain jumped to his feet, his eyes darting around wildly. He was actually afraid of the sea for the first time in his life. He knew the storm would pass. That wasn't what was bothering him. However, if the crew couldn't get the logs tied up soon, the heavy cargo would shift to one side and the ship would sink.
Every man on the ship was in the hold now, restacking the logs and trying to tie them back down. The waves grew higher and higher, tossing the huge ship around like she was a toy boat in a bathtub. It was no use. There simply wasn't enough time to re-stack the logs. They were shifting to starboard faster than the men could stack them. There just wasn't enough time. The wind had reached the top of its fury, whipping the waves into mountains of seething water.
Powerless to stop them, the men watched as the logs thundered against the side of the freighter. The next wave caught the helpless ship off-balance. With a great bellowing roar, the Mighty Atlantis rolled hard to starboard, flipped on her side, and slipped beneath the crashing waves.
(A dramatic finish for Atlantis would be a good idea here. I had a large hollow tube closed on one end that I dropped my toy ship into. It had a nice effect as the ship immediately vanished, and landed with a hollow thunk inside the tube.)
Only if the men had more time to work. If only the storm hadn't been so strong. If only the logs were tied better to begin with, If only, if only. If only...
Much like the ill-fated Atlantis, we only have a certain amount of time in this world. You see, God has given us a number of years to do His will here on Earth. Then, if we have trusted Christ as our personal savior, He will take us to be with Him. Our time here will be done.
But unlike the task of the Atlantis and her crew, our job is not hopeless. Not at all. You see, we do have enough time. God has given us the time we need to spread the good news of our Lord's salvation. We have plenty of time to help our family, friends, and church. We have been given the precious gift of time. We can't afford to waste it. So, let's stop living our lives trying to make ourselves happy. Instead, let's live the way God wants us to, doing the things He calls us to do in His Word.
(Have a student look up and read 1 Timothy 6:12)
"Fight the good fight for what we believe. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses." (NLT)
We are to fight the good fight, run the long race by following God's plan for our lives. We must not waste a single opportunity to help someone out, or tell them about Christ's love for them.
(Have a student look up and read Matthew 19:23)
"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." (NKJ)
This verse does not mean a rich man or woman cannot spend eternity with Jesus. It does mean we shouldn't make it the focus of our lives to save treasures for ourselves on Earth. Rather, we must work to store up treasures in Heaven, and we accomplish that by doing what God wants us to do, for as long as we have here.