“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” – Mark Twain
Jesus Does Not Need My Boat
Matthew 14:25 says, “During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.” This seems like a straightforward Scripture, but the part that challenges me is this: Jesus does not need my boat.
Our “boat” is anything we possess that enables us to do our job, fulfill our calling and arrive at out God-chosen destination. It could be our experiences, titles, education, salary, family connections or possessions. But Jesus, after making the disciples get into the boat and encounter a storm, walked across the water to be with them. Jesus did not need their boat.
Too often we (which means, of course, primarily me!) assume that God has brought us to this certain place, endowed us with these certain gifts, allowed us to experience those particular things because He is going to use them for this particular purpose. But we deceive ourselves when we think we have the plans of God all figured out. Jesus does not need our boat.
There was a time, of course, when Jesus chose to use our boat. In Luke 5:1-3, Jesus used Peter’s boat in order to teach the crowds that had gathered around Him. Afterward, Jesus instructed Peter to go back out and fish, even though they had fished all night and caught nothing. Their catch after obeying the Lord was so large it almost sank Peter’s boat (Luke 5:7).
Later in our walk with Jesus, He shows us He has other means of accomplishing the purposes of God for our life. He wants us to grow beyond the safety and security of our “known” talents and abilities. Jesus wants us to learn that just about the time we think we’ve got the methods and motives of God figured out, He purposely sends us into a storm so that He can scare the wits out of us by appearing in a form we least expect.
Sometimes the storm is a financial scare so He can appear in the form of our Provider. We thought we were providing everything for our family, but God reminds us that everything we have comes from Him (1 Chron. 29:14).
Other times we think it is our education or vocational connections that will land us that career we’ve always wanted, but then a call comes from someone we don’t know and we enter into a career we never imagined.
After four years of Bible College and two years of completing a Masters in Ministry, I’m finding that everything I thought I knew about being a pastor has brought me headlong into a storm that seems to be taking me further and further from the shore of church “ministry.” For some reason, I find that my life’s testimony is more effective on a construction site than in a church classroom, and unsaved men are changing their behavior because I walk into a room. However, I know it is not me they are responding to, but the Jesus within me.
Only now am I starting to realize that Jesus doesn’t need my boat-my education, teaching techniques, study habits, etc.-to lead me in His direction. And to tell you the truth, the vision I am now getting of God is scary, amazing, and unknowable all at the same time. I sometimes feel like I’m in the middle of a lake, pulling against the oars and drifting further and further from my goal. However, I know that one day I will arrive on the shore of His choosing, at the time of His appointing, to do the work of His anointing. We may not arrive there in my boat, but we will arrive there just the same.
This was awesome!! Thank you. Lots to meditate upon and ponder. I shared with my hubby a few backs that the we are in the biggest storm of our lives, but God’s faithfulness and love has also been the greatest!
You are right…
Sometimes, ministry isn’t what we think at all.
Construction site, public school system…etc…
Our boat, it usually doesn’t carry what we need, or go in the right directon.
Thanks Jim. I picked you up from the link to iMonk.
This is exactly where I am at. As a (always bi-vocational) Bible teacher, preacher, interim Pastor for thirty years in over a dozen churches, I am now out of work for almost a year, out of ministry position for several months, seeking the Lord’s desire and find I need “His boat”.
In prayers this morning I confessed I am at the end of me, all the good adjectives are laid down now. Makes me wonder if it has always been Jesus I’ve been carrying in my boat…
Sometimes the best thing I can do is get my “boat” out of the way so the Lord can show me His glory… great thoughts, Jim!
O brother, ((hugs)) and amen. What a humbling post so raw and full of God’s truth. I just love the way you express God’s wisdom in your writings. Hmmm…he doesn’t need my boat…well…that’s pretty easy… I don’t see that I have one. I guess that’s a good place for a full time stay at home mom to be at. God, take me use me with my family and friends. When I walk into a room, may I be like Jim and may other’s see a reflection of you in me.
Merry Christmas Jim! I am thankful for brothers and sisters in Christ like you, especially as we celebrate the birth of our King.
Dear Jim, I reached here from a link a friend sent to me. Didn’t know she was reading your blog too.
This is exactly where I find myself at the moment. Exactly. I have been depending on my boat and not ready to realise that Jesus doesn’t need mine. Your post goes against conventional wisdom and teachings of management and even identifying the will for God in our lives. That’s great.
It never occurred to me that it went against the teachings of management, although I know much of my writing goes against conventional wisdom. But if you are going to write about God you must go against conventional wisdom, for God is anything but conventional. I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts. If you really want unconventional, try this one. https://jimthornber.com/2008/12/31/scriptures-tha…-me-john-41-42