Getting past familiarity

William “Carey” Northington

“Let the whole earth tremble before the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.’” Psalm 33:8

Several summers ago our family spent about 10 days on a vacation — many miles in the minivan, seeing family, eating meals out, preparing meals in and seeing places we have not seen before. Overall, we had a wonderful time together.

Our travels took us to Virginia and the first English settlement at Jamestown. Jamestown is on the Charles River, which empties into the Chesapeake Bay and into the Atlantic Ocean. There is an incredible amount of history in this part of our country.

Across from the Jamestown settlement is the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry. This ferry is part of Highway 31 that begins on the Scotland, Virginia side of the river and concludes on the Jamestown side. Instead of a bridge, the state of Virginia has decided to use a ferry system, which dates back to 1925.

As we pulled our van up to the ferry area, there was a long line of approximately 15 automobiles. We were waiting for the other boat to come across the river and let all the passengers off. Then it was our turn. We slowly made our way toward the ferry and drove on to the deck, being very careful to pay close attention to those responsible to navigate us. One row of cars went to the right, and then we were the first to go to the left, enabling us to stop at the very front of the ferry.

When we stopped we excitedly jumped out of our van and immediately went to look over the railing to the water below. Seagulls were greeting us on a platform in front of the railing. We looked around and almost no one else moved from their cars. The men who worked on the ferry had no smiles on their faces.

“Why isn’t everyone as excited to get out and explore as we are?” we asked.

Then I realized what was happening … many of the people on the ferry with us, including those in their vehicles and the ferry workers, had probably done this over and over and over hundreds of times. It may have been exciting to them the first few times, but after a while, perhaps it became so common, the excitement waned.

The Gospel is a lot like that ferry ride for many of us who have been Christians for a number of years. It is likely that when we first came to Christ and understood His love and grace, we basked in it and allowed it to overwhelm us. Then, over time, we gained a great amount of familiarity and, because it became common, it did not mean quite as much to us. We began to take what God had done in us for granted.

If, like me at times, you can identify with those on the ferry and have lost much of the excitement of what Christ has done in your life, realize this is a normal part of being human. However, you do not want to stay this way once you see it. Consider setting aside time to renew your commitment and passion for your Savior. Spend quality moments in His Word and seek nuggets of awe that you may have once valued more than you do now. Jesus is waiting for you to initiate with Him, and then He will engage your heart like you long to do.

William “Carey” Northington

William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at

William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at