Getting Out of the Boat

When we read Matthew’s account of Jesus walking on the water and Peter’s attempt to get out of the boat and walk toward him, we tend to dwell on Peter’s apparent lack of faith which resulted in his sinking until he called out to Jesus to save him. Peter says, “Lord if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” (Mt. 14:22-33) Peter did so, but when he started to experience the wind and the waves, he began to sink.

Still, of all the disciples, Peter was the only one who had the courage to attempt to accept Jesus’ offer to walk on the water toward him. He was the only one willing to get out of the safety of the boat. To the others, they no doubt thought it was foolish and reckless.

It is a normal thing for us to seek safety and comfort, but sometimes the Lord calls us to step out of our safety and comfort to do something for him or to take an action for ourselves that is beneficial, even though to us, it may not appear so at the time.

When I was in my mid-forties, I was offered a new assignment by my employer to oversee the delivery of legal services for our marketing, refining and supply operations in Asia, Africa and South America. It was a great job and would have certainly furthered my career, but would have required a move back to New York from our U. S. headquarters in Virginia. We had three teenage daughters at the time and a two year old son. Our daughters were all doing well in school, were involved in Young Life, a Christian outreach to high school teenagers and had great peers for friends.

For three days, I agonized over the decision. While I didn’t think I would be fired if I declined the assignment, I knew it would have a negative impact on my career. There was a lot of pressure from my superiors to take the job and to decide quickly. The corporate culture fostered success, and moving up the corporate ladder was something highly valued. You were expected to accept promotions, not turn them down.

After three days of prayer, consultation with colleagues, and lengthy discussions with my wife, we discerned that I should decline the offer. I had to get out of the boat of my corporate security and comfort to walk on the waters of going against the corporate culture at the time.

The decision did have a negative impact on my career for a number of years, but when I look back today and see all that has happened in the lives of our children and all the blessings we have experienced in our family, I am absolutely confident that this decision was God’s will for our family and for me professionally. Our children went on to complete their education and have since married wonderful Christians who are all raising Christian families. For myself, my career eventually got back on track, and I was also led to become active in Christians in Commerce, a workplace ministry encouraging Christians to live out their faith in their work. There is more, but too much for this space.

Is the Lord calling you out of your boat of comfort and security? Jesus says, “Come.”

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