Get Out of the Boat
"But Jesus spoke to them at once. 'Don’t be afraid,' he said. 'Take courage. I am here!' Then Peter called to him, 'Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.' 'Yes, come,' Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus." -- Matthew 14:27-29
In the summer prior to seventh grade, I went to my first ever basketball camp and began going to open gyms. Over the next several months leading up to tryouts, I took more shots, worked on my ball-handling and tried to familiarize myself with this game that was very new to me. The first day of tryouts came and I thought I was ready. All day in class I was excited, and it was all I thought about. But when the big moment came, I froze. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was going to get me to walk through those doors and into the gym. Frozen in my fear, I never even stepped out to see if I had what it took that year.
In Scripture, we find the story of Peter walking on water and often point to his failure on the waves. We look, correctly, upon the fact that he took his eyes off Jesus and sunk beneath the waves. But we often miss perhaps a subtle point that Peter got out of the boat. After the disciples’ initial fear, Peter boldly says to Jesus, “‘Lord, if it's you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said” (v. 28-29). Perhaps much to the dismay of the other disciples, Peter then proceeded to get out of the boat and walk to Jesus.
Let's just hold our focus right there. Despite the fact that Peter would soon falter, he did indeed step out of the boat and he did indeed walk on water. Peter showed faith in Jesus and the fact that if called by Jesus, he could do anything. I would take it a step further to say that Peter showed courage in the face of the storm. Ultimately, we know that Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and his "little faith" was not enough to keep him above the waves, but even still, it says a lot about Peter that he was willing to take those first steps.
Where would you place yourself in this story? Would you, like Peter, have the courage to step out of the boat when Jesus calls or would you be like the other disciples, still be fearful and stuck in the boat? Like Peter, Jesus has called each of us out of the boat, and as long as we keep our eyes fixed on Him, we can accomplish things for God's glory beyond our wildest imagination even if we have but a little faith. Also, like Peter, we will fall time and time again, but just as Jesus did that day on the waves, He is ready to reach out, catch us and return us to safety once again.
- Make a list of the areas of your life that you feel the most comfortable. How could you "get out of the boat" and serve God in those areas?
- Take a moment of quiet reflection and think on the area of your life that God is calling you "out of the boat." Pray that God will use you to glorify Him as you begin to live differently for Him.
"Heavenly Father, give me the courage to step out of my comfortable boat, and into Your plan for my life. Help me to stay focused on You that I may bring glory to your name. Amen."