Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Get Out of the Boat
We have spent over 6 months talking about what it is like to try and live life on the #NarrowRoad. At least one answer we have come to is this- it ain't easy! There are challenges to following Jesus, both in our daily walk and on our long-term spiritual journey. But if we think following Jesus on dry land is tricky...
In Matthew 14 we read of the time Jesus walked on water. There was great surprise and even some fear on the part of the disciples in the boat he was was walking towards- they thought he was a ghost!- despite all they all previously witnessed from him. But once his identity had been established and their fears calmed, Simon Peter did what Simon Peter always did- he tried to jump to the front of the line. "Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you on the water." When the Master replied, "Come" Peter was off and walking. What a moment earlier had seemed impossible was now being done by the official screw-up of the 12. He took several steps on the water before it occurred to him that this was actually pretty ridiculous. He was walking on freakin' water!!! He panicked and began to sink before Jesus reached out to save him (because that's what he does). The Messiah asked Peter why he had doubted and had so little faith, and there is no record of Peter's reply. But I know what mine would have been. "Little faith? Dude, I just walked on water. You say little faith- I say 3 steps no one besides you has ever taken before! I may have stumbled, but at least I got out of the boat. You called and I came to you in the waves. I ROCKED IT!" What had just happened was amazing and they all knew it. Which is why in verse 33 they bowed in worship, saying "truly you are the Son of God!"
Whether on dry land or in the water, life on the #NarrowRoad was never meant to be safe and humdrum. Jesus calls us all to be different, to be radical and to be risk takers. It is indeed very difficult to walk on water if you never leave the boat. What does it look like for Christians to metaphorically get out of the boat? It means loving people the world doesn't love. It means giving up things that are important to us so that others may be blessed. It means that when Jesus says "come to me" that we go- no matter where that leads us. Just like with Peter, taking the first steps to do these things will scary. We may sink. Sure, we can stay in the boat, go to church on Sundays and be safe in our faith. But we are warned in the Revelation of John that being lukewarm is a really bad thing. Being lukewarm- having a half-a**ed faith- can get you "spewed out of God's mouth." We are called to go for it, to dive into life with the Savior. We will fail if we think we can do it on our own. But walking with Jesus, we can accomplish the improbable. We will no doubt stumble at times. But stumbling is better than sitting in the boat. I want to take those steps. I want be able to scream to the heavens, "I am not Jesus, but I seek to be like him. I took 3 steps. WOOHOO!!!" And if I keep my eyes on Jesus, perhaps I really can do things I never dreamed possible.
What boat do you need to step out of today? Where (or to what) is Jesus calling you that you are afraid to go? Who is Jesus calling you to love today that makes you feel uncomfortable? If our lives on the #NarrowRoad makes us feel all safe and comfortable, chances are good we have wandered off the path again. Get out of the boat. And then trust in Jesus to carry you through the storms.
Because of Jesus,