Get out of the boat…..

In Matthew 14, there are some major stories in the life of Christ and the disciples. The chapter starts out with the death of John the Baptist at the hands of Herod after making one of those “I’ll do anything for you” type of promises. Then Jesus does one of the most mind blowing miracles of provision with feeding the five thousand, and then the miracle of Jesus walking on the water (and Peter as well) and culminating with Jesus healing through direct and indirect touch of Jesus’ cloak.
Of all the disciples, Peter is often criticized for his lack of faith. About 10 years ago, I started sympathize with Peter and felt like he was getting a bad rap. After all, he’s criticized for denying Christ 3 times (but where were the other disciples?) and he’s looked down upon for starting to sink AFTER first asking Christ to invite him into what Christ was doing at the time, and then…..stepping out of the boat ONTO the water.
Our pastor preached on this topic this morning and pointed out a few things:

1. He mentioned the whole thing about Peter getting a bad rap – after all, where were the other disciples in the boat while they all thought they saw a ghost? He thought perhaps they were all huddled at the back of the boat scared nearly to death. Not Peter – Peter asks Christ to invite him out onto the water. Peter doesn’t ask Christ to make his identity as Christ any more tangible by walking over to the boat and climbing aboard, or any other suggestion that could have still alleviated their collective fear. No, Peter asks one of the most crazy things he could have asked – let me walk out to you, Jesus if it’s really you. Is there any more nuts question asked of Christ in the entire Bible?

2. Our pastor pointed out that Peter’s faith was strong, but it’s when Peter started depending on the strength of his faith, rather than the Object of his faith, that Peter ‘failings’ begin to show up. He calls out to Jesus to save him, which Jesus does. It seems like Jesus is calling out Peter in front of everyone else, saying “O you of little faith, why did you doubt.” However, our pastor said that what Jesus was really pointing out is that ALL of our faith is little, and even Peter, one of the “sons of thunder”, who had HUGE faith – faith which Jesus would point out would be a basis for the church itself – was still little. It’s down to this, the size of our faith is not what matters, it is the object of our faith.

A. w. Tozer points out in “The Pursuit of God”, that faith is down to the practice of looking to God in any and every situation in the chapter called “The Gaze of the Soul”, where he points out that directing our attention to God, and off of ourselves, is the ‘essence’ of faith. Timothy Keller, in “Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering” talks about one of the practices of deepening faith is to preach to ourselves about the truths of God and His reality. David does this often. Note how this concept meshes so perfectly with Tozer’s comments about faith being directing our attention to God. You cannot declare the truths about God without directing your focus on Him as well. The two are inextricably linked.

So, how does this all relate to being a Worship Band Wingman? Perhaps you are currently in a worship band, and you are relying heavily on your own skills and practice (both necessary elements of successful leading), and you’ve taken your focus off of Christ and his provision? Perhaps you are just considering the possibility, and you’ve talked yourself out of it.

If God seems to be calling you to participate in a worship band, or start one, or try some new aspect to your wingman responsibilities – ask Him if you can join in His work, and don’t over-analyze. Keep your focus on Him, and don’t focus on your own abilities. Take a lesson from Peter – he knew that he couldn’t walk on water, he had spent his life needing a boat to stay ‘on’ the water. He didn’t let that get in the way of asking Jesus likely the craziest question in his lifetime, and then when Jesus simply said “Come”, Peter got out of the boat amid the storm.

Maybe it’s time you need to ask God if it’s time to get out of the boat. Listen for His gentle voice amid the storm saying “Come”.

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