A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

   OH NO!" Walter said, staring at the, now, solitary page in his hand.
   "What's wrong?"   Mike glanced over from his lounge chair while reaching for another hors-d’oeuvre.
   "The page finally tore out."
   "Serves you right for bringing a Bible along."
   "What is that supposed to mean?"
   "This is a cruise!   You're supposed to relax; lighten up."
   "But I am relaxing!"
   "Fine, ruin your own trip then."   Mike took another sip of iced tea.   "And what is Mr. Willard gonna think?
Here he invites us on his yacht, and you spend the time reading."

   Walter shrugged.
   Mike grabbed another hors-d’oeuvre.   Walter reinserted the page, but instead, fearing it would get lost, folded it to fit inside his shirt pocket.   He then paused, realizing the page would now have a permanent crease, and shook his head at his own absent-mindedness.   Mike frowned, watching him the whole time.
The yacht, meanwhile, began slowing down.
   "Hey!   Are we stopping?" Mike said.
   "Beats me.   I'm not steering the boat."
   "It's a yacht, Walt.   Don't let the old man hear you call it a boat or you could kiss a promotion goodbye."
   Walt glanced over Mike's shoulder, shading his eyes with his left hand.   "Here he comes now."
   Mike quickly sat up.
   "Morning, gentlemen.   Hope you're enjoying yourselves."
   "Yes sir, Mr. Willard.   Fine yacht you have here, Sir.   In fact, I was just telling Walt it's the best yacht I've been on."
   "Right.   But I'm afraid she's not at the moment.   We're anchoring here for the night while I make some repairs."
   "Hope it's not serious, Sir.   It'd be a shame, you know, a fine yacht like this."
   "Right."   Willard walked away to inform his other guests.
   "See Walt, that's how V.P.s are made.   Just stick with me . . . and get rid of that Bible!"
   "Right," Walter said, rolling his eyes . . .

   That night, Walter was startled into consciousness when an explosion rocked the boat.   Several screams were followed by footsteps scrambling above him on the upper deck.   Walter grabbed his pants off the chair, frantically hopping up and down, one leg at a time.   Someone pounded on his door.
   "WALT!   WAKE UP!"   It was Mike.
   "I'M COMING!" Walt said, rapidly buttoning his shirt.
   Both men raced to the deck, where the four others were climbing over the side into a small life boat.
   "COME ON, COME ON, you two, get moving!"   Mr. Willard motioned them into the boat then pushed off with an oar, slowly drifting them away from the yacht.   Walter could now make out the flames licking across the stern.   She was burning fast.
   "Idiot!" Mr. Willard said, shaking a fist at himself.   "Why did I have to be such an idiot?"
   "Harold, calm down!" Mrs. Willard said.
   "What's going on?"   Walter turned to Mike.
   "I'll tell you what happened," Mr. Willard continued, "like an idiot, I was brazing and got too close to the fuel line!"
   The yacht, rapidly taking water, was now a shrinking bonfire disappearing into the cold dark water.
They silently watched as the last flame sizzled and died, leaving them in near darkness.
   "Well . . . At least there's a full moon," Mike said.
   No one else said a word . . .

   An hour went by and all six had taken their turn rowing.
   "It's no use," Mitchell said, "this toy compass can't keep a steady bearing."   Mitchell and his wife both worked for Mr. Willard, and when invited to sail his yacht, Mitchell's wife emphatically said no; she couldn't swim.   Mitchell, however, eventually won the argument, but now had to endure her occasional glance reminding him: I told you so.
   "We better stop and rest awhile," Mr. Willard said, "for all we know we're traveling in circles."
   Mrs. Willard faced her husband.   "Harold, perhaps you should wave the flashlight again."   Mr. Willard began making large arcs with his arm.
   Walter yawned and crossed his arms, feeling something crumple within the shirt pocket.   Curious, he removed it and quickly realized what it was.
   "What is that?"   Mr. Willard pointed the flashlight at Walter.   "Is it food?"
   "Actually, it's a page from my Bible.   It accidently ripped out earlier today and . . ."
   "Sir," Mike said, "I didn't know anything about this . . . !"
   "Read something from it," Mitchell said.   "My wife's nervous.   It might calm her down."
   "Yes, please do," Mrs. Willard added.   "I've always enjoyed the Psalms.   You wouldn't by chance have the Psalms would you?"
   "Why, no, but . . ."
   "Walter!" Mike said.   "Mr. Willard's not in the mood for Bible study right now . . ."
   "Go ahead, Walter," Mr. Willard said, handing him the flashlight.   "Read something encouraging."
   "Okay."   Walter paused to choose a verse.   "Here's one.   It says, ‘That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved’ (Rom. 10:9)."
   "That was nice.   Wasn't it, Harold?"   Mrs. Willard exchanged smiles with her husband.   "Now tell me, Walt: what does it mean?"
   "It means that if a person repents, submitting to Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life, and puts their trust in Him to save them, they'll go straight to Heaven when they die."
   "Don't forget the Sabbath," Mitchell added.   "You also have to keep the Sabbath."   Mrs. Mitchell nodded in agreement.
   Walter frowned.   "But it doesn't mention anything about keeping the Sabbath.   It only says: ‘That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’"
   "That may be so," Mitchell said, "but you can't just read a verse without considering its deeper, spiritual meaning."
   "What deeper meaning?" Walter said.   "God promises at the end of the verse: ‘thou shalt be saved.’"
   "IF!" Mitchell insisted, "You ALSO keep the Sabbath."   His cordial smile disappeared.
   "I'm sorry, but I don't see the word Sabbath here.   You're putting words in God's mouth."
   Mike intervened "Thank you, Walt and Mitch, for those words of encouragement.   Now, how about if we tell a few jokes?   Who wants to start?   Anyone have a good . . . ?"
   "He's a joke!" Mitchell said, pointing at Walter.   "He's a joke and a FALSE PROPHET!"
   "Now, now, Mitchell," Mrs. Willard said.   "Let's not call names.   If Walter wants to interpret the verse his way, it's his right to do so."
   "But what's there to interpret?" Walter said.   "It clearly says: ‘That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’   Why add to it, when it can't get any simpler than that?"
   "I know what!"   Mike clapped his hands, rubbing them together.   "How about a game of charades?   I'll start . . ."
   "Look here, Walter," Mr. Willard said, "I don't like your tone of voice.   Just because my wife doesn't know a thing about the Bible doesn't give you the right to . . ."

   "HAROLD!   Don't treat me like an idiot!   I know enough to realize that going to Heaven is not as simple as what he claims that verse says!"   She faced Walter again.   "Young man, everyone know you also have to be baptized!"
   "YEAH, FALSE PROPHET, what about baptism?"
   Walter, sighed, shaking his head.   "It doesn't mention baptism, either!   It simply says: ‘That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’   God says what He means and means what He says.   You can't earn your way to Heaven by keeping the Sabbath OR getting baptized.   The Bible says in Titus 3:5, ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us...’"
   "Is that on the page, too?" Mrs. Mitchell said.
   "No.   It's found in . . ."
   "I WAS RIGHT!" Mitchell said, pointing his finger again.   "He is a false prophet!   He made it up."
   "I did not!"
   "Then stick with what's on the page, you coward."
   "Fine, if you insist, I'll read it again, ‘That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be....’"
   Mitchell covered his ears and began to scream, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!   I CAN'T HEAR YOU!   I CAN'T . . ."
   "MITCHELL," Mrs. Willard said, "ACT YOUR AGE!   Harold, order him to stop this instant!"
   "Actually, it's your fault, Martha.   I warned you not to . . ."
   "MY FAULT?   You're the idiot who blew up the boat!"
   "Excuse me, Mrs. Willard.   It was a yacht.   And a fine one at that.   Right Sir?"
   "Shut up, Mike."
   "Right, Sir."
   "MITCHELL!"   Mr. Willard faced Mitchell, who was still covering his ears like a child.   "STOP THAT YELLING, YOU'LL WAKE UP ALL THE FISH!"
   Mitchell removed his hands, "But Sir, you don't understand, he has the mark of the beast.   He worships on Sunday!"
   Silence fill upon the small craft as Mr. Willard's face turned red in the moonlight.   "Mitchell!   I worship on Sundays, also . . . WHAT ARE YOU INSINUATING?"
   "PLEASE!" Walter said, "Mr. Willard, Mitchell, everyone, I didn't mean to start a fight.   But you're all complicating God's simple plan of salvation.   You're adding stipulations that you may have learned somewhere else but not from God's Word.   Christ's death paid for your sins.   Simply repent of trusting in these other things to get you to Heaven and, instead, trust Christ alone as your only means of salvation, and God promises that you, shalt be saved[!]"
   Walter drew blank stares.
   "Okay, let me put it this way," Walter continued, "suppose this was the only verse you had, and . . . and . . . let's say this lifeboat started sinking . . ."
   Mrs. Mitchell screamed.   "HE'S TRYING TO DROWN US!   Mitchell stop him, I can't swim!"
   "DON'T WORRY, HONEY, I'LL SAVE YOU!"   Mitchell lunged his body toward Walter, falling short and landing on Mrs. Willard's lap.   She screamed.
   Willard rolled up his sleeves, "ALL RIGHT, MISTER, you've crossed the line . . ."
   Chaos ensued as everyone but Walter yelled and shoved at each other.   The tiny boat rocked wildly, side to side, on the verge of tipping over.
   Everyone froze and began looking around.
   "LOOK!"   Mitchell was the first to notice their life boat had drifted within ear shot of another yacht.
   "WE'RE SAVED!   WE'RE SAVED!" Mitchell cried, hugging his wife and Mike.   He then brushed his nose up at Walter and said, "We're saved . . . no thanks to you . . . !"

Dear Reader, The Bible says: "if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."   (Gal. 2:21)   Think about it, if you could earn your way into Heaven then Christ died for nothing.   However, His death was not in vain, it served an important purpose.   It provided a reconciliation to God that was not possible any other way.   Here's why:

The Bible teaches that, "your iniquities [SINS] have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."   (Isa. 59:2)   "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Rom. 3:23).   And there is a price to pay for having sinned before God, and that price is death.   "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."   (Rom. 6:23)
"and without shedding of blood [DEATH] is no remission [FORGIVENESS]."   (Heb. 9:22)

Of course, this means that BAPTISM cannot pay for your sins since no one dies while getting baptized, nor can CONFIRMATION, COMMUNION, KEEPING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, CHURCH MEMBERSHIP, SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, or GOOD DEEDS.   Anything other than death CANNOT and WILL NOT pay for any of your sins.   That's why:
"Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).

He paid the price.   He died in our place and if we don't put our trust in His death to save us,
Jesus warned that: "ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he," (John 8:24).   And that means eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15).   To claim what Christ has done on the cross for you, you must REPENT.   That means: change your mind, and agree with what you have just read from the Bible and place all your trust in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, to save you.   So "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [i.e. REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."   (Rom. 10:9)

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