When we first receive Christ, we are offered an invitation to ride on the Jesus Boat. We don’t have to do a thing; just enjoy the summer breezes blowing through our hair, the warm sunshine on our faces and the cool spray of the misty water over our bodies. Jesus provides the boat, mans the sails, steers, navigates and even provides cold drinks and sunscreen…it is fun to ride on the Jesus Boat. We think we could just ride on the Jesus Boat forever.
Then one day Jesus says, “Why don’t I teach you to sail this boat?” We don’t much like the sound of that offer because we like riding on the boat (remember the free sunscreen and cold drinks?) but he has done so much for us that we accept. Together we look at charts, listen to weather reports, calculate wind direction and man the sails. This is a close and rich time with our savior and we grow to love it. We think we could be the first mate on the Jesus Boat forever.
Then one day Jesus says, “Why don’t you take a group out today?” I am taking another group on another boat and I think you are ready. We say, “Lord I want to hang out with you. I like it when we do things together.” He says, “I will always be with you and the things I taught you will serve me well. He hands us a single book of navigation, shakes our hand and smiles warmly. “I believe in you,” he says. People begin to get on the boat and we offer them free cold drinks and sunscreen. We think we could just captain a Jesus Boat forever.
Then one morning, Jesus calls. A hurricane has engulfed the region; the rain is pounding, the wind is blowing and the seas are swirling and dangerous. We say, “Don’t worry Jesus I won’t be taking your boat out today. In fact, I’ll just stay in and get some sleep while this thing blows over.” But Jesus says, “Get up. Put on your rain gear. Get the boat ready. Find as many life rafts as you can. You will need to utilize everything thing I have taught you. There are people stranded in these troubled seas and you are going out to save them.”
It is then you realize…that is why Jesus invited us to ride on the boat in the first place.
- God has not called us to a pleasure cruise…God has called us to the Coast Guard.
- God has not called us to a Caribbean vacation; God has called us to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world.
- God has not called us to ride the storm in safety; God has sent us into the hurricane!
“Rescue the Perishing, care for the dying…
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.”
-Fanny Crosby 1869
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois.