27:9 Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.” 11 Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. 12 And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there.
What had King Agrippa said to Paul just before they shipped him toward Rome? "You almost persuaded me to become a Christian." Now it's the turn of the centurion to be almost persuaded.
Have you ever been almost persuaded? I don't believe there is any such thing as almost persuaded. When you look closer “almost persuaded” is actually fully persuaded but prevented by other factors from following through. It wasn't that Agrippa didn't believe Paul was telling the truth. He believed him. He believed Jesus was the Promised One too. He believed it all. He just couldn't get past the personal cost to himself if he followed so he didn't. I mean look at Paul. He had been a wealthy, well respected, well connected, and influential Pharisee. Now look at him. He was old beyond his years. His skin was weather beaten by the constant travel. Worse than that he was a poor, humble preacher unwanted and hated by his own people.
No you'll never convince me Agrippa wasn't persuaded. He just wasn't willing to follow through.
This account of the impending storm and the "almost persuaded" centurion gives us a clear window into what factors prevent the persuaded from doing what they are sure is right.
In his case he didn't want to winter in that place. His men didn't want to winter there either. The owner of the ship was against it. Owner means $$$. How often is $$$ a factor in pushing us to do the wrong thing? The helmsman said going forward was fine. He drove the ship. He had driven many ships. He was a man of experience. How can you go against a man of experience?
Add it all up. An old preacher in chains says he has a feeling the ship will go down of they push forward. The owner says push forward. The helmsman says push forward. The majority say push forward. Your own desires say push forward...
He was persuaded Paul was right but...
What I find fascinating that some did believe Paul enough to vote on his side because if the majority voted to push forward there had to be a minority that voted to winter in the port where they were.
What about us? Do we make decisions based on feeling? Based on the influence of others? Do we just go with the majority?
God is looking for men and women of conviction. Men and women and youth who will stand when everyone else bows. Individuals who are not afraid to do what they believe is right or who do what is right even if they are afraid.
Paul lived his convictions. Leader after leader around him just did what was convenient. The contrast is stark. Where are you and I in all of this?