Lessons For Life And Work – From Noah’s Ark

By Ken Korkow

Be honest: When 2020 started, did your list of goals include: “Things to do during the coronavirus pandemic”? If you did, I would like your advice on scheduling a trip to Mars. At the start of the year, none of us knew anything about COVID-19 or its global ramifications.

However, in reflecting about these unprecedented circumstances and how we all have tried to cope with them, I was reminded of another global crisis – one that none of us was present to experience.

Do you remember the story about Noah’s Ark? It is recounted in chapters 6-9 of the Old Testament book of Genesis. It begins, “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth” (Genesis 6:5). God was so grieved by the evil of mankind at the time that he decided to remove all of mankind from the earth by causing a global flood. However, Noah was described as “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time” and he “found favor in the eyes of God” (Genesis 6:8-9).

Because of this, the Lord chose to spare Noah and his family. Noah was instructed to build a massive Ark and fill it with “representatives” from every kind of animal and bird to repopulate the earth. What does this have to do with the pandemic? I mention it because I have concluded that everything I need to know about life, whether dealing with everyday concerns or surviving a pandemic, I learned from Noah’s Ark. Here is a summary of those things:

1) Do not miss the boat. When opportunities present themselves to us, especially for avoiding a major problem, we need to respond – and quickly.
2) Remember that we are all in the same boat. We have heard this repeated, especially by people from luxurious, well-stocked homes. But it is true – the pandemic has affected us all.
3) Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark. Similarly, there was no pandemic that we were aware of when 2020 began. But wise people always have a plan B, or C, if needed.
4) Stay fit. When you are 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big. So be advised to take care of yourself for future demands. And if you are already 60 or older, keep fit!
5) Do not listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done. Noah had many detractors, wondering why he was building an Ark. But he persevered. When people question your well-considered preparations, just keep moving forward.
6) Build your future on high ground. Whether it is a pandemic, an economic downturn, or unexpected personal crisis, position yourself to weather the storm.
7) For safety’s sake, travel in pairs. Many of the animals God directed Noah to bring into the Ark came in twos. In the workplace, as well as the family, it is always advisable to team with others who can share the pressures as well as the actual work.
8) Speed is not always an advantage. The snails were aboard the ark with the cheetahs. In doing a quality job, trying to complete it quickly is not always the best approach,
9) When you are stressed, float for a while. Once the rains started, Noah could not do much more than wait for the storm to pass. In times of crisis, that is sometimes our only alternative, too.
10) The Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals. So-called “experts” do not always have all the answers. If you are called by God to do a job, do not worry if you feel unqualified.
11) No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting. We are now in a great global storm. No one knows for how long. But we can trust God is with us, even to the end.

Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC. This is adapted from his “Fax of Life” column. Used with permission.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

1. How have you been dealing with the virus pandemic and restrictions that have followed? Have you at times felt overwhelmed by stress and worry? How have you dealt with that?

2. What do you recall about the story of Noah and the Ark?

3. As you read the list of things that can be learned from Noah’s Ark, which of them seem most important to you? Explain your answer.

4. How can these “lessons” help you in the future, whether it is dealing with ongoing effects of the pandemic, the sagging economy and a disruption of “normal” life, or in confronting some other type of problem?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:

Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:3, 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Romans 6:13-14; Hebrews 13:5