Get Out of the Boat

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Often times we are afraid to do so many things because we are afraid to get outside our comfort zones. For instance, I debated for months whether or not to start a blog. My main hesitation was, “Who am I to start blogging? What do I really have to say? Why would anyone read what I wrote?”

 The other night I was reading, and the author made a point that I was able to relate to. He said, “Sometimes I feel inadequate.” My first thought was, “What? You feel inadequate? Why?” He went on to explain several reasons for feeling this way. The more I read what he was saying, the more I found myself feeling just like him. There are so many times that I feel inadequate. This is the main reason I hesitated to start blogging. I felt inadequate, and blogging would be way outside my comfort zone.
There is an occasion in the Bible where one of the apostles got out of his comfort zone. In Matthew 14:22-33, we have the account of Jesus walking on the water. As He is walking, His disciples are in a boat.  Not realizing it was Him, the Bible says, “When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ and they cried out in fear” (v. 26).  The disciples didn’t know what to think. After all, no human can actually walk on water, right? “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” (vs. 27-29).
If the story ended there it would be a feel good story. Peter had enough faith and trust in Jesus to get out of the boat and walk on the water to where Jesus was. However, the story doesn’t end there. The next two verses tell us what happened next, “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?’ “(vs. 30-31).
This is the part of the story that we all remember. Peter walking on the water, then taking his eyes off Jesus and noticing the winds and the waves around him, thus, beginning to sink. For this we often criticize Peter. How could you doubt? You were actually walking on water. Although Peter does deserve our criticism to some degree, think about this for a moment. Where were the other disciples while Peter was walking on the water? They were in the boat. Peter was walking on water and the other disciples were sitting in the boat. My question is, “Why didn’t the others get out of the boat too?” Once they saw Peter walking on the water, why not join him? After all, that would be a really cool thing to do, right?
We may often want to criticize Peter for beginning to doubt while walking on the water, but at least Peter was willing to get out of the boat. None of the other disciples were willing. Perhaps they were scared. Maybe they had their doubts. Whatever their reasons, they trusted in the boat more than in Jesus. Peter step out of the boat, most likely way out of his comfort zone, and did something none of the others were willing to do. What a great lesson that is for us.  We would accomplish so much more if we were more willing to get out of the boat.
I never would have started this blog if I was not willing to step out of the boat and take a chance. I never would have ended up working with such a great congregation as Karns had I not been willing to get out of the boat and leave a place I was so comfortable. Some of the sweetest and most caring people in the world I know would not be Christians today had someone not been willing to get out of the boat and teach them the Gospel of Jesus. Sadly, some people may end up spending eternity away from the presence of God, because so many of us are afraid to get out of the boat. Maybe it’s time for us to learn from Peter. Perhaps it’s time for you to get out of the boat, even if everyone else stays in it.
Now that’s Something to Think About! Justin 

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