Leaving our Boats and Following Jesus

What if Jesus walked into your place of business, spoke to the staff, and then instructed a salesperson to make a phone call which resulted in the biggest deal your business had ever landed?

Then imagine that Jesus said, “Never mind. Leave it all and follow me.  From now on you’ll market a better product.”

What would you do?

Some first century fishermen, Peter, Andrew, James and John to be precise, experienced this very scenario.  Jesus met them on the shore after an unsuccessful night of fishing and then sent them back out into the lake where they caught a literal boat-load of fish.  Then he said, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Here’s what they did: “At once, they left their nets and followed him.”

A first century fisherman’s boat and nets represented his livelihood, his identity, security for his family and the defining activity of his days.

These early disciples demonstrated that they were willing to trust Jesus for their livelihood, security and identity instead of trusting in their boats. 

A first century fishing boat discovered in the Sea of Galilee. What was once a fisherman’s solid livelihood is now in a carefully climate controlled room so that it won’t disintegrate.

It seems reasonable to trust in a tangible asset, something solid that we think we can control, like a boat, doesn’t it?  That which seems rock solid today, however, will not last.  Boats eventually wear out.

Over recent years, God has shown me that I’ve been trusting in my “boat” instead of in Him.  I would have said that I was faithfully following Jesus, but in truth I really wanted Jesus to smooth the way for me and my plans.  It’s no fun to face up to failures of faith, but it is also an opportunity to appreciate God’s grace, forgiveness and unconditional love.  I pray for the faith to truly and freely follow him.

Do you trust Jesus with your security, your identity, and your days?  Have you ever “left your boat” to follow him?

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

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About Judy

At heart I am a student of truth, an observer of culture, and a communicator. Jesus is my teacher and my Lord. In pursuit of these passions, I read as much as I can, serve as Teaching Director for a Community Bible Study group, and write a blog in an attempt to synthesize it all. I take great delight in my relationships with family and friends, and I also enjoy long walks, bike rides and cooking. And did I mention that I like to read?
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11 Responses to Leaving our Boats and Following Jesus

  1. GodGirl says:

    Great food for thought, and our ‘boats’ are very much our idols aren’t they – whether our security, our wealth, our children or our entertainment… thanks for the challenge to consider what we’re putting our faith in.

    • Judy says:

      Yep, they are all idols. And I’ve trusted in all of them. It’s a bit of a shock when God reveals such a thing, but he does it graciously, gently and correctively all so that we will know him better and trust him more completely. I’m thankful for the opportunity. Thanks for your thoughts! Trusting today!

  2. Judy says:

    Good point! I think that’s a well populated boat:)

  3. Linda says:

    Judy, this is an awesome question! I have left my boat many times in my walk with Christ… My bigger question is why do I keep going back to it? :) I have a really nice “boat” right now and I do everything in my power not to leave it. I know better than that but I do it anyways… the apostle Paul and I are in the same boat on that one!

  4. Caddo Veil says:

    Hi Judy! I think I do pretty darn well at it, most days–but would I fall apart if Soc Sec tanks, and the Welfare system, too? Not sure. I’m unable to work, and I don’t have family or friends to support me–so it would be a new God-Adventure, scary and exciting. The funny thing, as I write this, is that I suspect God has more confidence in me and my faith–than I might. THAT is Cool!! God bless you abundantly–love, sis Caddo

    • Judy says:

      I think you’re right Caddo, that God is confident in our faith because even that ultimately comes from Him. Is it circular reasoning to have faith that we’ll have enough faith for whatever circumstances come our way? Bless you back Caddo!

  5. Larry Who says:

    “…Do you trust Jesus with your security, your identity, and your days? Have you ever “left your boat” to follow him?

    The reason I didn’t give my life to Jesus as a younger man is that I didn’t want what they had. They had fears, worries, and no power which is exactly what I had at the time. So, when I gave my life to Jesus, I made up my mind to jump into Christianity with both feet and never look back. Have I made mistakes? Yes. Do I have security? In Christ, I do. But everywhere else is insecure. Do I have an identity or reputation? No, I’m a failure in almost everything. Do I trust Him with my days? Of course, He bought me and thus He owns me. What happens if God doesn’t show up with His provisions? I will sink and probably drown…but He always, always, always shows up. Is it exciting? Every single day is exciting and I’m never bored.

    I’ve walked this way for over twenty years. It’s not really great faith but normal life as shown in the Bible. What most of us have to get rid of is the abnormal life taught to us by many of our leaders. Anyone can do it, but you have to be like a little child who trusts his Daddy.

    • Judy says:

      Thank you for your inspiring and challenging witness Larry. I’m working toward a biblical view of “normal” in my life. Actually, I should rephrase that to say I’m trusting in that direction. It’s food to hear your perspective way ahead of me on that journey!

      • Larry Who says:

        Most of our biggest fears here in America involves money. What will happen if I lose my job? What if the government collapses? What if I can’t buy food or my meds? The answer is God will provide…eventually, if we trust Him.

        My wife says, “Yes, God always, always, always provides, but I don’t always like the way He does it or His timing.” This gives you a second perspective from my household.

  6. Dan Barnum-Steggerda says:

    Scary stuff, Judy…the notion of leaving our boats and follow Jesus to who knows where and do who knows what. Interestingly, I have been toying with this very idea though…I’ve been feeling pulled away from pastoral ministry into something more social justice oriented. But, with a son in his 4th year of college, another son in his senior year of high school and a spouse with an M.Div. now embarking upon an MSW degree, makes jumping out of my boat pretty scary! Faith – oh how I need it!

    • Judy says:

      Yes, how we need faith that He knows where and He knows what. I often wonder what Christians could accomplish if we really trusted the Lord like we say we do from within our boats. May the Lord increase our faith, even if it’s scary:). Thanks Dan!

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