Ships InWhen my siblings and I were young we spent a lot of time shelling peas for mom to can, capping strawberries to be made into jam or put into the freezer for strawberry shortcake, shucking corn, stringing beans, and all sorts of other vegetable preparation. Needless to say,  while performing these duties we talked about hiring all of this sort of work done when we were grown and “our ship comes in.” We had lovely dreams of that “someday.”

Mom, a very practical lady, would tell us that we better be prepared to meet the ship when it arrived. And she would tell us if we wanted to win the spelling bee we had to be prepared by practicing our spelling skills.  If we wanted to win the speech contest we needed to learn to make speeches before audiences.  If we were going to have a big, beautiful home one day we needed to be prepared to earn it when the opportunity arose. Then she would say, “Sometimes you ship doesn’t come in, sometimes you have to swim out to meet it.  You need to learn to swim so you can do that.”


For each of us, the swimming was different.  My oldest brother longed to fly planes.  He eventually did that by studying hard and taking flying lessons. He flew 3 combat missions over Viet Nam.  Another brother was always interested in electricity and how it worked and eventually became a lineman for an electric company and then the owner of his own electric company when the opportunity presented.  And so the story goes for each of us.

My grandmother, a Godly woman who knew her Bible would quote II Thessalonians 3:20, For, even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

When I see young people sitting around waiting for someone to hand them a career I really want to say to them, “Swim out to that ship!”

ship comes in