Drifting is easy. Staying on course is hard. Drifting takes no thought. Piloting to a desired destination takes paying attention and concentration. Drifting is to allow the currents to take you where they will. The true sailor may tack into the wind and go against the currents–destination taking precedence over contrary forces. The careful sailor finds secure anchorage in the safe harbor. Drifting can be dangerous.
Neglect is easy. Maintenance is hard. Two houses in the same neighborhood, one maintained and the other neglected. At first the differences may be undetectable, but a little work done in regular intervals holds back the ravages of time and decay. Peeling paint, rotting wood, fallen shingles, and crumbling mortar can spell disaster if not averted. Neglect can lead to ruin.
Powerful images are conveyed by the words “drift” and “neglect.” Hebrews asks us to apply them to our spiritual lives and heed the warning. Many who begin the walk of faith end it not with a conscious rejection, but with a slow, creeping neglect. It comes on them with many little decisions and plausible excuses that lead away from faith. It’s like the boat that has lost its anchor. The drift is slow and almost imperceptible, but if it is not checked, the current leading it away may become stronger than the will to return.
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? (Hebrews 2:1–3a, ESV)