To reach a port we must set sail—sail, not tie at anchor. Sail, not drift. —Franklin D. Roosevelt
Sometimes my wife and I will be talking about something when, just for a moment, we’ll transition to a different topic. Then she’ll say something like, “Okay, so what were you saying?”
My problem is that sometimes—and I’ll only admit to sometimes—my original point is gone. I try to remember what I was saying, but I cannot bring it back.
This is what the author of Hebrews means when he or she uses the word drift.
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (Hebrews 2:1)
And so, what exactly is it that we’ve heard?
Hebrews 1 taught us that Jesus is better than anything we’ll leave behind to follow Him. He’s higher ranked than the angels. The Father acknowledges the Son as God. His message is greater than any message that came before Him. And so here we are being warned in Hebrews 2: Don’t miss Jesus! Pay attention. Otherwise, the message might drift on by.
The imagery behind the word drift is that of a boat passing by its destination. Plato used this word to indicate something that has slipped from one’s memory, like my conversations with Libby. Plutarch, a historian, used the word to describe a ring slipping off one’s finger.
Drift is a frightening word because the loss is happening imperceptibly. We don’t even know we’re drifting. You don’t realize you’ve lost it until it’s gone.
And so, God is telling us, through the author of Hebrews, to pay attention. He wants us alert.
Lord, wake me up if I’ve been sleeping! Join me as I consider my own journey. How many years have I been navigating the Gospel? Show me if I’m at risk of missing what’s most important and remind me that You’re better than anything I’ll leave behind. Amen.