I love boats. I have always wanted a BIG boat. With a cabin and a stand-up head, and maybe even a shower. I have bought trucks with towing packages capable of towing one – but ten years, two trucks, and around 400,000 miles later – I still haven’t pulled a boat. For me, such a boat is a luxury… Maybe one day – who knows?
But for Peter, a boat was not a luxury. It was his career; his business; his life. At the end of one particularly grueling day at the office, Jesus has the gall to tell Peter how to use his boat… (Luke 5).
What?!? Who does this guy think he is?
Peter argued, but finally tried what Jesus said… And his business efforts that day were so incredibly successful that his boat could barely handle it. Needless to say he followed Jesus from that day on.
Smart businessman, that Peter…
We often get the impression that Peter just left his business and traveled for Jesus from that day forward. Not so! Jesus’ call to Peter was actually more like “Let me have your boat.”
In the 3.5 years that followed:
- Peter’s boat was one of Jesus’ main method of transportation (Luke 8:22)
- Peter’s boat became a platform for Jesus to preach from (Mark 4:1)
- Peter’s boat became a sanctuary for Jesus, allowing him to find a safe place from the noisy throngs (Matt 15:39).
One time – the business climate for Peter was so tumultuous that he was convinced that he was going down. It didn’t appear that Jesus even cared, as he was over there sleeping – again. (Mark 4:38)
Another time – Peter argued with Jesus about a business decision (Matt 14:22-32), especially since it didn’t seem that Jesus was planning on being around when the expected flop happened! Finally Peter conceded, and sure enough – he almost lost the boat again. Fortunately Jesus shows up in the middle of all the turmoil – walking right on top of it like it was nothing.
Peter thought that was SO cool…
And besides the cool stuff happening outside the boat – inside the boat were 11 other guys that hardly knew how to bail! Peter says to Jesus:
“Can I do that, too? Can I get out there where you are?”
As I mentioned – I don’t have a boat (yet). But I do have my business; my life; my family… And I have to admit, I was pretty incensed when Jesus first told me what to do with it. Now I find that my life is often His vehicle. Sometimes it’s His platform to preach from. I have to carry around a bunch of His other friends sometime (which can be frustrating, because some of them don’t know a sail from an anchor…).
There’s been times that my business was about to crash and burn, and I wondered if Jesus was enjoying some quiet time at my expense. There have been other times when I felt alone in a tumultuous business climate, and the people that were around weren’t the ones I thought I needed to be with. There have been times that I asked Jesus to let me out of the boat and just walk out there like He did. Times that I wanted to be a preacher, not a businessman…
I admit I have often expected that life with Jesus would be more like walking on water than bailing it out of my boat.
Jesus did invite Peter to experience walking on water, just as He has done for me (figuratively – up to this point). But ultimately Jesus reveals to Peter where He really wanted him, just as He does for me. After an incredible missionary trip, after a weekend of seeing people saved and healed, after an occasional season of revelation and anointing…
Jesus takes me by the hand, and walks with me back to the boat.
After 3.5 years of letting Jesus use his boat – Peter is able to enjoy incredible business success without all the issues. (John 21:3-11)
You and I can really benefit by realizing the true nature of Jesus’ call. He doesn’t ask for us to leave our life – He asks us to give it to Him. That’s really tough at first – but it gets easier. And I’m finding that my boat looks much better than it did a few years ago. I don’t want out of it as often – I just want Him in it.
I’m beginning to experience some fairly miraculous success – in spite of me.
What is your boat? It will look (and work) better than ever after you decide to let Jesus have it…