Three Oranges: God's Will For Everyone




God’s will for Everyone

Late in the evening of April 14, 1912, the unsinkable ocean liner Titanic struck an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the sea, claiming the lives of 1,523 of the 2,228 men, women and children aboard. Survivor stories provide a wealth of information about what took place during the last few minutes of the ill-fated ship’s journey, and these tales are peppered with heroism and selfishness, wisdom and folly.

Among the many wealthy passengers sailing on Titanic’s maiden voyage was Major Arthur Godfrey Peuchen, who survived while 11 other millionaires died. Peuchen remembered returning to his stateroom and stuffing three oranges in his pockets as the ship was being evacuated. He left cash, securities and jewelry worth more than $300,000—but he took three oranges.1 In the cataclysmic last moments of Titanic’s voyage, Peuchen saw with great clarity the difference between essentials and nonessentials. He chose to carry with him the basics —just three oranges— knowing that they could provide life to him or to someone else while they were waiting to be rescued.

As we seek to know the will of God, are we focusing on what could truly give life to our souls, or are we simply looking for another toy to add to life’s toy box? Can we appreciate the value of the basics —the “oranges”— over the more glamorous aspects of His will?

While God has a specific will for each person, He also has a general will for every man, woman and child. God’s general will is the same for everyone, no burning bush required. It is a matter of right and wrong, not right or left. For example, the Ten Commandments, sexual purity, honesty, personal holiness and kindness to others are His will for everyone. By following His general will, we lay a foundation for His specific will to be built upon. It’s not rocket science; the way to find God’s specific will is to do His general will. We could think of His general will like Peuchen’s oranges —essential, life-giving, ordinary and applicable to all.

Knowing God’s will doesn’t require memorizing a formula. Instead it involves living a process that is our life’s journey. But even so, a foundation for knowing His will exists for every man or woman regardless of his or her vocation, personality or gifting. In fact, you may be encouraged when you discover that you already know more of the path than you realize!


1. Marshall Everett, ed., Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic: The Ocean’s Greatest Disaster (L. H. Walter, 1912), p. 106. stream/wrecksinkingofti00neiluoft/wrecksinlcingofti00neiluoft djvu.txt.

You can get Gregg Matte’s book by clicking on Finding God's Will.