I had reason recently to review some of the principles found in John Ortberg’s great book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get out of the Boat. Using the story found in Matthew 14 where Peter joins Jesus as He walked on the water, Ortberg contrasts “water walkers” with “boat potatoes.”
We all know the characteristics of a “couch potato.” They spend their time ensconced on an easy chair in front of a big TV set with chips and a coke nearby. Spiritual “boat potatoes” do a lot of sitting around as well. Their focus is on entertainment of some kind. They crave distraction…anything to avoid dealing with God’s nudging.
So why don’t we want to respond and join God on a spiritual adventure? I think there are two major reasons: first, it is because our “boat” represents safety and security, and we don’t want to rock the boat.
Our “boat” might be our cherished financial stability, or a position we have earned or a relationship we depend on. Our boat is whatever keeps us comfortable. And we don’t want to give it up even when it keeps us from joining Jesus out on the top of the waves of life.
The second reason we often avoid engaging in a spiritual adventure is our uncertainty about our real purpose and calling in life. We forget that as followers of Christ, we all have the primary responsibility to share the gospel whenever and however possible. It is not the job of our pastor or small group leader. We can’t pawn it off on our bible teacher. In spite of our training or background, we are all called to share the great news about our salvation.
If that responsibility is not firmly embedded in our minds and fully embraced by our hearts, we will be happy to sit back and watch others engage. We will often say, “they” are better suited, “they” are more spiritually attuned and “they” seem up for the job. So, let’s let “them” do it.
Our “boat” is whatever we are tempted to put our trust in (apart from the Lord). And our spiritual laziness keeps us sitting there watching others get the thrill of literally following Jesus as He directs them to “walk on the water.”
But truth be told, no distraction can ever fully satisfy the children of God. We are made to serve Him and to do so with enthusiasm. So this week, if you hear the Lord bid you to join Him out on the top of some waves….say YES. Climb out. Keep your eyes posted on Him and leave comfort and laziness behind.
Imagine what our spiritual adventures might be like. No more “boat potatoes!” Bring on the waves!