Our speaker this week had a lot of interesting things to say. One of the big questions that had me thinking was “What’s your ship?”
I guess this story needs a little context, so allow me to back up. There’s a story that is commonly preached on in the Bible, Matthew 14: 22-32:
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.”So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind,he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
(So, if you’re not sure if you believe in Jesus or in this story, there can be another time for that conversation. I’m not interested in forcing you believe what I believe. What I am focused on here is that if this story is true and what we believe, there is a huge misconception among Christians specifically regarding this story.)
How many of us, after hearing this story identify with Peter? I do! I identify so much with him: that I am a screw up, I can’t do anything right. This story has aided me in my obsession with bullying myself. As a matter of fact, I have read books and heard sermons and podcasts about how, if we can just keep our eyes on Jesus, we can avoid screwing up like Peter and letting God down.
But…are we missing the point? Was the point to walk on the water forever and not let God down?
Maybe, instead, it was something different.
Is it possible that Peter pleased God simply by stepping out…simply by leaving the boat?
Ok, ok…so if all of this is true, then I guess we’d need to ask how to apply this to our lives.
What’s our boat?
For me, in order to really know what my boat is, I think its best for me to think about what the boat represented. Its raining, pouring down and the waves are tossing to and fro. Jesus is out on the water. His friends were jeering, probably tired. Scared. Still, the boat was what looked safe.
Peter left his perceived security to be with the one He knew embodied everything secure.
Peter left his boat to meet the Maker of the Sea.
So…what is our boat? What is keeping us from living lives where we continually press into Jesus? What is is that is keeping us from following Him no matter where He is because He really is all we need? What is keeping us from following after our biggest desires?