Faith and Uncle Tut’s Outboard Motor

Have you ever noticed how often Jesus said to someone, “your faith has healed you?”  

We see it with Bartimaeus, the blind beggar sitting by the road outside of Jericho, persisting in calling out to Jesus as he passed even though the crowd attempted to silence him. (Mark 10:46-52)  We see it with the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years pushing through a crowd crushing around Jesus, hoping only to touch his cloak.  (Luke 8:43-48)  We see it in the friends of a paralytic who went to the extraordinary efforts of taking him upon on a roof and then lowering him down through the tiles in the middle of a crowd in order to get him to Jesus. (Luke 5:18-26)

In each of these instances it seemed to be the actions that these people took based upon their faith that brought forth a response from Jesus.      

Faith without action is incomplete.  We need to act on our faith in order for it to have effect.  It usually requires that we go out on a limb and risk failure, embarrassment, or disappointment.  

A number of years ago my daughters and I were water skiing in Uncle Tut’s boat in the sound between Holden Beach, NC and the mainland when the outboard motor conked out.  He tried to start it several times, he fiddled with a number of adjustments, but nothing seemed to work.  It was getting late in the day.  There weren’t any other boaters in the area.  He had no VHS radio, and it was a time before cell phones.  We just sat there in the middle of the sound, unable to get back to the landing.  I started to silently pray that the motor would start.   Uncle Tut kept pulling at the starter cord, but nothing happened.

I got a sense that I needed to pray out loud so Uncle Tut and my daughters could hear me.  As Tut was giving it another pull, I shouted, “Lord Jesus, start the engine!”  Varoom, the motor started right up.  Uncle Tut, who loved to tell stories, told this story for years – how my prayer started his motor when nothing else he did could.

Every day we have opportunities to act on our faith.  If we see a questionable business practice, our faith in Christ should enable us to speak up for integrity.  If a colleague is discouraged, our faith should motivate us to provide encouragement.  If an employee needs to talk, our faith should be willing to listen.  If we see a need for healing, our faith should be willing to offer to pray.  If we need healing, our faith should be willing to ask others to pray with us.

By giving us free will, God risked everything to become one of us in Jesus, counting on there being a few willing to follow him and carry on his work.  How much are we willing to risk in living out our faith to carry that work forward?

5 thoughts on “Faith and Uncle Tut’s Outboard Motor

  1. Bernard Diederich


    As an avid mariner (and you too), I really appreciate your miracle on the water … no not walking on it but in getting Uncle Tut’s ole outboard motor started. Should even give land-lubbers a message for re-starting a hundred and one things in their daily lives. We all need re-starting. But back to the outboard, was it a Johnson, Evinrude, Mercury, Scott-Atwatter, etc.?



  2. bethmcculloughcomcastnet

    Bill- I am really enjoying your posts! You have a gift for taking scripture and connecting it to our everyday lives. Thank you for taking the time to share your gift and for including me on the list! My email address is changing, however. Could you please update that so I can remain on the mailing list?

    Thank you so much! Beth McCullough

    my new address is




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