Isaiah 26:3 | Matthew 8:24
Is your mind stayed?
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.Isaiah 26:3 ESV
These days, we don’t use the word “stayed” as an adjective much. We use it as the past (or past participle) tense of the intransitive verb stay; as in, “I stayed where I was.”
But we’re not here to geek out about grammar, are we?
There is an exception, of course… In the case of describing sailboats. Sailboats have a tall mast (or masts) to support the sail. A mast is a vertical pole, and if you have ever tried to get a tall one to stand up, you know that you need to support it.
This is usually done in two ways: 1) by sinking the base of the mast through the deck of the boat, or 2) by attaching wires from the boat’s hull to points higher up the mast.
(In case you haven’t yet guessed it, we are about to geek out about sailboats.)
On a sailboat, these support wires are called ‘shrouds’ or ‘stays,’ and many sailboats have four or more for each mast. They pull the mast down and either forward, backward, or sideways to keep the mast standing–even when the wind is filling the sails. Sailboats that employ these wires are said to have stayed masts.
But not all sailboats use stayed masts. Many use a shorter, tapered mast, mounted below the deck of the boat. Why would a sailor choose this rig? You see, these unstayed masts have the advantage of being easier to set up and take down (especially the smaller ones), and also the ability to rotate the sails in ways that stayed masts can’t. These ‘freestanding’ masts can swing sails out into positions that would never be possible with wires holding each side. The downside: these unstayed masts are more likely to fail (read: “break”) in heavy winds.
So here is the question: if you are preparing for a journey to Who-Knows-Where through Who-Knows-What, which setup would you rather have on your boat? A mast that is likely to break in heavy weather, or one that can hold up against heavy winds?
If you stay your mind by trusting in God, it will stay up when the wind howls and the waves get rough. You can have the perfect peace described by the prophet Isaiah, no matter what comes.
Does that remind you of someone? Someone who, in the midst of a terrible storm, was so much at peace that he slept soundly in the back of the boat?
Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.Matthew 8:24 NLT
Stay your mind on Jesus. Fix your eyes on his teaching, and you can surely weather any storm.
Questions for Group Discussion
- On a sailboat mast, where is each end of a wire stay attached? Consider this: there are two ends–a high end and low one.
- What happens if a sailboat’s mast breaks a great distance from land? Could this be dangerous on a long passage? Why or how?
- How can you keep (stay) your mind on God? What does this mean? Is this different from fixing your eyes on Jesus? If so, how? How is it the same?
Challenge: Blowing Your Mind
You may have noticed the analogy we are using that compares your mind with a sailboat mast. If you have not…um…welcome to the Superbook Show!
Now it’s time to follow the rabbit hole and see how deep it goes. Prepare to get your mind blown! (See what we did there, with the wind and mind analogy?)
- Answer the Group Discussion Questions 1 & 2 above.
- Write your answers down for easy reference–you will need them.
- You may need to do a little web research on sailing rigs to get a better picture of stays (also called shrouds) on a sailboat mast. (Note: Old sailing ships used many stays, mostly made of rope. Modern sailboats use 3-4 per mast, typically of stainless steel cable. The modern ones are easier to understand.)
- Once you feel you have a handle on the basics of the analogy, try to find some next-level correlations. Below are some prompts to get you started.
- What do the wires represent?
- Is it significant that the goal is to keep the mast standing and in one piece?
- What should you do if the wind picks up and you have all your sails up?
- Share your results! The insight God gives you may strengthen someone else’s faith as well.