When I hear the word tell-tale, I am immediately in orange fowl weather gear, a J-24, and sailing on San Francisco Bay. It is a magical space where time stands still! The bay is moderately rough with caps of foaming grey. The sea is running four to six. We are trying to squeeze everything we can out of the boat. Marcia is watching the tell tales, yelling instructions on how I should change the trim the sails. Everything pivots on her readings. She knows, I follow, and we sail with mysterious speed.
Tell-tales are thin strips of canvas that are attached to the stays (wires) holding the most up on either side of the boat. They are also found on the mainsail and jib. They float effortlessly in the direction of the wind no matter where the boat is heading. They are critical indicators revealing the path to those willing to understand.
In my experience, tell-tales are never about the past or future. They reveal the present, specifically in the context of the boat’s source of power. They have no commentary, bias, or point of view. They merely tell the story of a moment in time, always remaining in context of the present.
It is up to those in the moment to use the information tell-tales provide. When you and I look at the results of our actions, we can see where we stand in context to the truth in our lives. Our response to the wind will stand out, as well as the truth of who is in the boat with us. God is always present, even when we forget who is present.
If we work as tell-tales, we will see life for what it is, without bias or commentary. It is a calling worthy of our lives. Failing to understand life is tantamount to risking our lives! It is my goal to have a review similar to Barnabas; “He was a good man that way, enthusiastic and confident in the Holy Spirit's ways. The community grew large and strong in the Master.” (Acts 11.24)